Why is this medication prescribed?
Clarithromycin is an antibiotic used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, such as pneumonia; bronchitis; and ear, lung, sinus, stomach, skin, and throat infections. It also is used to prevent disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection. Antibiotics will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Clarithromycin comes as a tablet and liquid to take by mouth. It is usually taken every 12 hours (twice a day) for 7-14 days. For stomach infections, it is given every 8 hours (three times a day). Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take clarithromycin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Shake the liquid well before each use to mix the medication evenly.
The tablets should be taken with a full glass of water.
Continue to take clarithromycin even if you feel well. Do not stop taking clarithromycin without talking to your doctor.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking clarithromycin,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to clarithromycin, azithromycin (Zithromax), dirithromycin (Dynabac), erythromycin, or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially other antibiotics, anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin), astemizole (Hismanal), carbamazepine (Tegretol), cholesterol-lowering medications such as lovastatin (Mevacor) or simvastatin (Zocor), cisapride (Propulsid), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), digoxin (Lanoxin), disopyramide (Norpace), ergotamine, felodipine (Plendil), lovastatin (Mevacor), omeprazole (Prilosec), phenytoin (Dilantin), pimozide (Orap), tacrolimus (Prograf), terfenadine (Seldane), theophylline (Theo-Dur), triazolam (Halcion), and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney or liver disease, irregular heart beat, yellowing of the skin or eyes, colitis, stomach problems or blood disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking clarithromycin, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking clarithromycin.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Clarithromycin may cause an upset stomach. Take clarithromycin with food or milk.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Although side effects from clarithromycin are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- stomach cramps
- mild skin rash
- stomach pain
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- severe skin rash
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- dark urine
- pale stools
- unusual tiredness
- vaginal infection
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store the tablets at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Keep away from light. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Keep liquid medicine at room temperature (do not refrigerate) and away from excess heat and moisture. Throw away any unused medication after 14 days. Do not freeze. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison controlcenter at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsedor is not breathing, call local emergency services at911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to clarithromycin.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish the clarithromycin, call your doctor.