Metronidazole is the general form of the branded preparation Flagyl, which is used to treat bacterial infections of the skin, vagina, stomach, joints or respiratory tract.
The drug is sometimes used in conjunction with other medicines to treat stomach ulcers.
Metronidazole is an antibiotic that works by killing bacteria in your body.
Administration for Food and Drug Administration (ACP & L) first approved metronidazole in 1963. It is produced as Flagil by Pfizer.
The drug belongs to an increased risk group, because metronidazole causes cancer in laboratory animals.
Discuss this risk with your doctor before taking this medication.
Before using metronidazole, tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Blood disorder (eg, anemia or leukopenia)
- Epilepsy or other seizure disorders
- Nerve disorders
- Allergy to medicines
This medicine only applies to bacterial infections. It will not have an effect on the common cold, the flu or any other viral infections.
Antibiotics, such as metronidazole, can cause diarrhea, which can be a sign of a new infection. Immediately contact your doctor if you have severe, watery, or bloody diarrhea.
Be sure to take metronidazole for the entire time prescribed by your doctor. Continue to take the drug, even after the symptoms have disappeared. Do not stop taking Metronidazole without first consulting a doctor.
Metronidazole can also cause incorrect results in certain medical tests.
Pregnancy and Metronidazole
You should not take metronidazole in the first trimester of pregnancy. Consult your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking the drug.
The drug may affect the breast milk and may harm the baby. Do not breast-feed while using metronidazole, without first consulting with your doctor.
Metronidazole for dogs and cats
Metronidazole is given to dogs and cats to treat conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, diarrhea, certain infections and periodontal disease.
You will need a prescription from your veterinarian to buy this medication for your pet.
Common side effects of metronidazole
Seek immediate help if any of the following side effects become serious or persistent:
- Easy diarrhea
- Stomach upset
- Loss of appetite
- Cough, sneezing, or runny nose
- Metallic taste or dry mouth
- Dark or reddish brown urine
Serious side effects of metronidazole
Immediately notify your doctor if you experience the following serious side effects:
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- White spots or sores in the mouth or on the lips
- Painful urination
- Eye problems or pain behind the eyes
- Fever or chills
- Change in mood or behavior
- Slurred speech
- Muscle spasm
- Symptoms of an allergic reaction, including a rash, shortness of breath or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
Interaction with other drugs
- Tell your doctor about all the medicines that you take, especially:
- Antabus (disulfiram)
- Anticoagulants (blood thinners), such as Coomadine (warfarin)
- Dilintine (phenytoin)
- Hismannal (astemisole)
- Lithobide (lithium)
- Phenobarbital (luminal and solfoton)
- Tagamet (cimetidine)
Metronidazole and other interactions
Metronidazole is able to make the skin more sensitive to sunlight.
Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight and apply sunscreen before going out.
The drug can also make you dizzy. Do not drive until you know what action the drug has on you.
Metronidazole and alcohol
Alcohol consumption in conjunction with metronidazole may cause unwanted symptoms such as:
- Stomach upset
- Stomach cramps
Refrain from drinking alcohol while taking this medication and at least three days after the completion of the intake.
The dosage depends on your health and your response to treatment.
When taking this medication, carefully follow the instructions in the recipe. Do not change the dosage yourself. Try to take the medicine at the same time every day.
Tablets should preferably be taken with a meal or a glass of milk to prevent indigestion.
Symptoms of an overdose of metronidazole may include:
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Numbness or tingling
If you have symptoms of an overdose, immediately go to the emergency room.
Missed drug intake.
If you miss taking metronidazole, drink it as soon as you remember.
However, if you remembered by the time of the next dose, do not double the dose to make up the pass.