Clarithromycin (By mouth)


Clarithromycin (kla-rith-roe-MYE-sin)
Treats and prevents infections that are caused by bacteria. This medicine is a macrolide antibiotic.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Biaxin XL, Prevpac, Biaxin Filmtab, Biaxin

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to clarithromycin, erythromycin, or other macrolide antibiotics, or if you are also using cisapride (such as Propulsid®), pimozide (such as Orap®), astemizole, terfenadine (such as Seldane®), ergotamine or dihydroergotamine.

How to Use This Medicine

Tablet, Long Acting Tablet, Liquid
  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • Keep using this medicine for the full treatment time, even if you feel better after the first few doses. Your infection may not clear up if you stop using the medicine too soon.
  • Swallow the extended-release tablet whole. Do not crush, break, or chew it.
  • Take the extended-release tablet (Biaxin® XL) with food or milk. The Biaxin® tablet and oral liquid can be taken with or without food.
  • Measure the oral liquid (Biaxin® Granules) with a marked measuring spoon or medicine cup. Shake the medicine well just before using. Use the oral liquid within 14 days after filling the prescription.
If a dose is missed:
  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not store the oral liquid in the refrigerator.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
  • There are many other drugs that can interact with clarithromycin. These include terfenadine (such as Seldane®), astemizole (such as Hismanal®), cisapride (such as Propulsid®), pimozide (such as Orap®), carbamazepine, hexobarbital, phenytoin, valproate, colchicine, alfentanil, cilostazol, theophylline, rifabutin, zidovudine (such as Retrovir®), ritonavir (such as Norvir®), methylprednisolone, or anticoagulants or blood thinner like warfarin (such as Coumadin®).
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also taking ergotamine or dihydroergotamine, digoxin (such as Lanoxin®), quinidine (such as Cardioquin® or Quinaglute®), disopyramide (such as Norpace®), triazolam (such as Halcion®), alprazolam, midazolam, cyclosporine, tacrolimus, sildenafil (such as Viagra®), bromocriptine, or medicines to lower cholesterol (such as Lipitor®, Pravachol®, Zocor®).

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, or a history of porphyria.
  • Do not use this medicine for any infection that has not been checked by a doctor.
  • If you have severe diarrhea, ask your doctor before taking any medicine to stop the diarrhea.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Blistering, peeling, red skin rash.
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat.
  • Severe diarrhea (watery and may be bloody).
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding.
  • Yellow skin or eyes, dark-colored urine or pale stools.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
  • Change in the color of your teeth.
  • Headache.
  • Nausea, vomiting, or stomach upset.
  • Unusual taste in your mouth.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
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