Clarithromycin is the general form of the branded prescription drug Bixin, an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections.
Clarithromycin is often used for pneumonia, bronchitis and infections of the ears, sinuses, skin and throat. It is also used to treat and prevent a common Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection, which is a type of lung infection that is common in patients with HIV.
The drug can also be used in combination with other drugs from pylori – bacteria that cause ulcers. It is sometimes used to treat other types of infections, including Lyme disease, cryptosporidiosis, legionnaires and whooping cough (whooping cough). It is sometimes used to prevent heart disease in people undergoing dental or other procedures.
Clarithromycin belongs to a class of drugs known as macrolide antibiotics. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria. Like all antibiotics, it can not kill viruses that cause colds, flu or other viral infections.
Researchers from the Japanese pharmaceutical company Taisho Pharmaceutical developed Clarithromycin in the 1970s. In 1985, Taisho joined the American company Abbott Laboratories, and Abbott received FDA approval for Bixin in October 1991.
You should continue to take Clarithromycin until your prescription is finished, even if you get better. Stopping the medication too soon or skipping the dose can cause resistance to antibiotics in bacteria.
Common side effects
Some common side effects of Clarithromycin include:
- Abdominal pain
- Change of taste
Serious side effects
You should immediately call your doctor or call for emergency medical help if you experience the following serious side effects:
- Swelling of the face, throat, eyes, hands, lips, ankles, legs or lower legs
- Lack of sleep
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Extreme fatigue
- Lack of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Pain in the upper right side of the stomach
- Urine of dark color
- Symptoms of influenza
- Frequent or irregular heartbeat
- Blurred vision
- Muscle weakness
- Bad smelling, loose stools
Other drugs affect the work of Clarithromycin?
Clarithromycin can interact with several drugs because it reduces the activity of liver enzymes that destroy many drugs. Some examples of drugs that can interact with Clarithromycin include:
- Colchicine (Colcrys)
- Simvastatin (Zocor)
- Lovastatin (Mevakor)
- Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
- Verapamil (Covera-HS)
- Amlodipine (Norvasc)
- Diltiazem (Kardizem)
Clarithromycin increases the level of sildenafil (Viagra, Revatio), tadalafil (Cialis, Adcirca), vardenafil (Levitra), theophylline (Theolar) and carbamazepine (Tegretol), which may increase the side effects of these drugs.
Ritonavir (Norvir) and atazanavir (Reyetas) increase the level of Clarithromycin in the blood. Efavirenz (Sustiva), nevirapine (Viramun) and rifampin (Rifadin) reduce the level of Clarithromycin in the blood.
Itraconazole (Sporanox) and saquinavir (Invirase) can increase Clarithromycin level in the blood, while Clarithromycin increases the level of both drugs.
Abnormal cardiac contractions can occur when Clarithromycin is combined with certain drugs, such as Amiodarone (Cordarone), Quinidex, Amitriptyline (Elavil), Fluconazole (Diflucan), Citalopram (Celexa), Trazodone (Olepto) or Desopyramide (Norpace).
Should I avoid any food, drink or activity when taking Clarithromycin?
If your doctor does not tell you the opposite, you can continue your usual diet and exercise by taking Clarithromycin.
Dosage of Clarithromycin
What are the usual doses for Clarithromycin?
Clarithromycin is available as a tablet, extended-release tablet and liquid form. Conventional tablets and liquid forms are usually taken every 12 hours for 7-14 days. Extended-release tablets are usually taken every 24 hours for 7-14 days. You should start to feel better after the first days of treatment.
For most infections, the recommended adult dose of Clarithromycin is 250-500 milligrams (mg) of immediate-release tablets twice a day or 1000 mg of sustained-release tablets once a day for 7-14 days.
This drug can be taken with or without food. You should take the tablets with a full glass of water and swallow the tablets whole. Shake the liquid before each use to evenly mix it.
What happens if I take too much Clarithromycin?
If you suspect an overdose, you should immediately contact a toxicology center or an emergency room. You can contact the Toxicology Center
What happens if I skip a dose of Clarithromycin or do not take it as directed?
If you miss a dose of Clarithromycin, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s time for the next dose, skip it and continue with your usual dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for the missed one.