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Flagyl tablets contain the active ingredient metronidazole, which is a type of medicine called an antibiotic. Metronidazole is used to treat infections caused by bacteria and other micro-organisms called protozoa. Metronidazole works by entering bacterial and protozoal cells and interfering with their genetic material (DNA). It damages the DNA and also prevents the bacteria and protozoa from forming new DNA. This ultimately results in metronidazole killing the micro-organisms, which clears up the infection. Metronidazole kills a wide variety of bacteria that are known collectively as anaerobic bacteria. This means that they do not need oxygen to grow and multiply. Anaerobic bacteria can cause infections in areas of the body such as the bones, gut, pelvic cavity and gums. Metronidazole is used to treat these types of infections, as well as leg ulcers and pressure sores that are infected with anaerobic bacteria. Metronidazole is also used to prevent infection following surgery, particularly gynaecological surgery and surgery on the gut, where many anaerobic bacteria may be found. In high doses, metronidazole penetrates the brain and can be used to treat abscesses in the brain. Metronidazole is also used to treat infections with protozoa. These micro-organisms are also anaerobic and include Trichomonas vaginalis (which causes trichomonas infection of the vagina) and other protozoa, such as Entamoeba histolytica (which causes amoebic dysentry) and Gardia lambila (which causes giardiasis). To make sure the micro-organisms causing an infection are susceptible to metronidazole your doctor may take a tissue sample, for example a swab from the infected area. Flagyl tablets are taken by mouth, but metronidazole may also be given by suppository, or via a drip into a vein (intravenous infusion) for more serious infections or when administration by mouth is not possible.