Clarithromycin

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Clarithromycin Fact Card

Effective antibiotic commonly for different types of infections which can be used in patients with penicillin allergy.

Brand Names Febzin, Klaricid and Mycifor
Used For Respiratory infections,Skin Infections, Erradication of Helicobacter pylori
Doseage Usually 500 mg twice a day for 5-7 days
Side Effects Change in taste, Headache, Vomiting , Diarrhoea, Gastric discomfort, Rash
Warnings Previous history of allergy to macrolides, liver disease, Current pregnancy, Breastfeeding, Heart conditions, Taking other medications (statins, anti-epileptics, anticoagulants)
Pregnancy Best avoided during Pregnancy

Clarithromycin is a well known and effective antibiotic drug used by doctors all over the world. Is is particularly helpful for patients who are allergic to Penicillin.

What is Clarithromycin used to treat?

It is commonly used to help treating bacterial infections such has respiratory infections (pneumonia, bronchitis, sinusitis) and skin infections (such as superficial infections, cellulitis - extensive deep skin infections - and folliculitis). In combination with other drugs it can also be used to treat a common stomach infection by a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. 

Clarithromycin is not effective for viral infections such as the flu. 

How does Clarithromycin work?

Clarithromycin belongs to  a wider group of antibiotics called macrolides. Once they are ingested (or administered via intravenous injection) they are transported inside the white cells (leukocytes) responsible for fighting the infections. The medication is then transported to the site of the infection. There they enter the bacteria and prevent the production of new bacterial proteins, effectively stopping the bacteria from growing or reproducing. This allows our body to kill and eliminate the remaining bacteria. 

clarithromycin alcohol

How do I take Clarithromycin?

There are multiple different dosages used for this medication depending on what you are being treated for and depending on the severity of the infection. Please ensure you always follow the instructions given by your clinician about how to take them. 

More commonly it is used as a tablet for adults and suspension for children. 

It is usually taken twice a day, preferably around 12 hours between doses. The duration of treatment depends on the ailment but treatment usually last from 5-14 days. 

Food does not interfere with this medication.

Side effects of Clarithromycin

As with any medication, clarithromycin can cause side-effects. 

It needs to be avoided if there is a previous history of severe allergy to it or any other macrolide antibiotics such as azithromycin, erithromycin or others. Make sure you tell your clinician about any significant allergies. 

The most common side effects are: dysgeusia (metallic or unpleasant taste in mouth), mild headache, nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea or abdominal discomfort, rash or increased sweating. 

Occasionally it can also cause abnormalities with you liver so any previous liver abnormalities should be discussed with the prescribing clinician. 

clarithromycin side effects

Things to avoid

Unfortunately clarithromycin interacts with a significant amount of other medication so make sure all your current medication is known to the prescribing clinician. 

Medications that can significantly interact with clarithromycin are statins, arrhythmic drugs, insulin, warfarin (and other anticoagulants), medication for Parkinson's disease, midazolam, anti-epileptic drugs, anti-HIV drugs, colchicine, diltiazem, amlodipine amongst others. 

Taking clarithromycin does not reduce the effectiveness of your contraceptive pill unless it causes significant diarrhoea or vomiting. 

Clarithromycin and alcohol

There is no particular reported interaction between alcohol and this medicine and therefore drinking alcohol in moderation should not be a problem. Nevertheless it is recommended to avoid alcohol during an acute illness as it can delay your recovery. 

clarithromycin when pregnant

Can I take Clarithromycin when pregnant?

Should be avoided unless your clinician finds the benefits of taking it are much higher than the risks of not taking it. 

Clarithromycin and breastfeeding

Clarithromycin should be avoided while breastfeeding. 

clarithromycin when breastfeeding

Please note. This site is for information only. If you are taking any medications please follow the instructions given by your doctor. Should you have an adverse reaction to any medication please seek medical advice.

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