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What is Clarithromycin?
Clarithromycin is a widely used antibiotic prescribed to combat bacterial infections. It is often given to people who are allergic to penicillin. Clarithromycin is part of a class of medicines known as macrolide antibiotics that work by preventing the growth of bacteria that are causing the infection. It is sold under the brand names Klaricid, Biaxin, and Xetininin XL, amongst others.
What is Clarithromycin used to treat?
Clarithromycin is a prescription-only medication that is used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections, including but not limited to:
- Step throat;
- Skin infections;
- Lyme disease;
- Ear infections;
Clarithromycin is also used in conjunction with other medication to treat some types of stomach ulcer.
How to take Clarithromycin
Clarithromycin is available in liquid form, in tablets and in granules. It is sometimes given intravenously to patients in a hospital.
Your doctor will prescribe Clarithromycin but the usual dosage is 250 to 500 mg and you will probably need to take 2 tablets twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Slow-release tablets are sometimes available and these can be taken once daily. It's a good idea to try and take your tablets at the same time each day.
You should start to feel better after a few days but other conditions, such as cellulitis, can take as long as seven days before you start to notice an improvement.
Make sure you finish the course of antibiotics, even if you feel much better. Not completing the course could result in the infection returning.
Does Clarithromycin have any side effects?
Common side effects of Clarithromycin include:
- Loss of appetite;
If you are among the 1 in 100 people that experience any of these symptoms, carry on taking Clarithromycin but speak to your doctor if the symptoms continue for more than a couple of days.
Rare side effects that are reported by 1 in 1000 people include:
- Rapid heartbeat;
- Severe stomach or back pain - these could indicate inflammation of the pancreas;
- Severe diarrhoea with blood;
- Bleeding gums, fever, blotchy skin, fatigue - could indicate bone marrow disorder.
In rare instances, it is possible to experience an allergic reaction to Clarithromycin. Signs include:
- Difficulty in breathing/talking;
- A skin rash;
- Swelling of the mouth, throat, lips or tongue.
If you experience any of these, seek emergency medical help.
There are many more potential side effects of Clarithromycin. For more detailed information, read the full list that can be found inside your medicine packet.
After finishing the course of Clarithromycin, you may be more susceptible to thrush, an irritating but minor fungal infection. Talk to your doctor or pharmacists for advice.
When is it unsafe to take Clarithromycin?
If you are taking certain medications, it might be unsafe to take Clarithromycin. Tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines, which can cause an adverse reaction when combined with Clarithromycin:
- Statins used to lower cholesterol.
The Pill / Pregnancy / Breastfeeding / Alcohol
Clarithromycin does not prevent the contraceptive pill from working but if you have had watery diarrhoea for more than 24 hours you should use additional contraception for the next 48 hours.
Clarithromycin is safe to take in pregnancy. Taking it whilst breastfeeding is done at the discretion of your doctor who may feel that the benefits of taking it outweigh the risks.
It is fine to drink alcohol with Clarithromycin.
For more information about Clarithromycin and any other medication, talk to dokeronline.com.