Clarithromycin - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Clarithromycin: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is clarithromycin?

Clarithromycin, an antibiotic, is helpful to treat a plethora of bacterial infections. The antibiotic comes under the class of macrolides that works by retarding the growth of bacteria. Clarithromycin effectively cures infections and diseases like pneumonia; bronchitis; pharyngitis; tonsillitis; and infections of the ear, skin, sinuses, and throat.

It goes by the brand names of Biaxin and Biaxin XL. You can take the doses as a pill or an oral suspension.

What are the uses of clarithromycin?

  • The antibiotic treats Lyme disease. This is a disease that develops after a tick bite.
  • Clarithromycin helps treat the infection that causes diarrhea, Legionnaires’ disease (a severe kind of pneumonia and lung inflammation), endocarditis, and pertussis.
  • Clarithromycin, along with omeprazole or lansoprazole, eradicates H. pylori in patients.
  • In addition, the antibiotic prevents Mycobacterium avium infection (a lung infection), Haemophilus influenzae, Haemophilus parainfluenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Chlamydophila pneumoniae infections.

While the uses and benefits are many, you must take a dosage prescribed by a licensed practitioner. Do not self-medicate.

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What are the side effects of clarithromycin?

The dosages and side effects of the antibiotic are mild, and usually pose no significant threat to your health.

The side effects of clarithromycin typically noticed are:

  • Abnormal taste
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion

The other, rarer side effects are:

  • Improper heartbeat
  • Hearing loss
  • Liver failure
  • Seizures

A few patients have allergic reactions to the drug. This may cause the overgrowth of C. difficile, which is responsible for colitis. Patients developing pseudomembranous colitis after taking clarithromycin will face symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, and even shock at times.

Therefore, taking the drug only as per the prescription is crucial.

What is Clarithromycin

Uses of Clarithromycin

Side effects of Clarithromycin


Frequently Asked Questions about Clarithromycin

1. Is Clarithromycin 500 mg a strong antibiotic?

The film-coated 500 mg antibiotic is not suitable below the power of 500mg. Clarithromycin is as potent and effective as any other antibiotic when taken in a dosage of 500mg.
With its very mild side effects, Clarithromycin is available both as a liquid and a pill to fight an array of bacterial infections.

2. How long does clarithromycin stay in your system?

500 mg of clarithromycin stays in the body for a period of about 8 to 12 hours. The half-life of clarithromycin (500mg) is 5 to 7 hours. In this duration, if any significant health issue arises, get a medical opinion at the earliest to know if this is unusual.

3. Can clarithromycin cause yeast infections?

Prolonged usage of clarithromycin can cause a yeast infection or oral thrush. Pausing the usage of the drug too early may result in the return of the disease. Using it for too long will cause (a new) yeast infection. Watch out for signs like white patches in the mouth or changes in vaginal discharge.

4. Can clarithromycin treat chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a typical sexually transmitted bacterial disease. In long-standing cases, it can cause serious health complications. The common symptoms of chlamydia are a burning sensation during urination and pain in the abdomen. Being an antibiotic, Clarithromycin is one of the effective drugs to treat a Chlamydia infection.

5. Is Clarithromycin penicillin?

Penicillin is a class of antibiotics. On the other hand, clarithromycin is an antibiotic under the category of macrolides.
Both Penicillin and Clarithromycin can help to treat a variety of bacterial infections. Speak to your doctor before deciding which antibiotic is the best for you, your medical history, and your condition.

6. Can you have alcohol with clarithromycin?

Alcohol does not reduce the effectiveness of clarithromycin. So you can safely drink alcohol while taking the antibiotic. However, do not combine and consume the drug with alcohol.
Take all precautions and observe any abnormal signs after taking the antibiotic. If you experience any adverse effects, consult your doctor immediately to avoid future complications.

7. Does clarithromycin cause constipation?

Constipation is one of the side effects of clarithromycin. The other side effects are abdominal pain, diarrhea, headaches, and indigestion.
A few patients may experience no discomfort or side effects at all. If you are facing a persistent side effect, visit your doctor immediately.

8. Is it safe to take clarithromycin during pregnancy?

Do not take clarithromycin during your pregnancy phase. Studies show that pregnant women face miscarriages when taking this drug.
In a few instances, your doctor might suggest you take the antibiotic if its benefits outweigh the risks that it brings along.
Consult your doctor before taking any medications in this phase to avoid health hazards to the fetus.

9. Is clarithromycin stronger than Amoxicillin?

Both drugs belong to different classes of antibiotics. Clarithromycin is a broader spectrum antibiotic with fewer side effects. It is safe to use for penicillin-resistant patients.
On the other hand, Amoxicillin is cost-effective and has a low drug interaction rate. Both the drugs show similar efficacy in treating bacterial infections, with only the doses varying.

10. Is it better to take clarithromycin on an empty stomach?

You can safely take clarithromycin either on an empty stomach or after eating. However, it is better if you take the drug after having your meal.
In the case of a tablet, do not crush or chew it. Ingest the pill as a whole in the dosage prescribed by your doctor.

To have all your medicinal queries regarding clarithromycin and other drugs answered, consult our experts at Yashoda Hospitals. Book an appointment with our doctors today.

11. Is Clarithromycin recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women?

Clarithromycin is not generally recommanded for pregnant or breastfeeding women. But sometimes doctors consult the medicine for special condition. Always consult your doctor before consuming the dose under such conditions.

12. Does Clarithromycin cause diarrhoea?

Clarithromycin is an antibiotic medicine and can cause diarrhoea sometimes, so it's a sign of a new infection. If you are having diarrhoea during the course of the dose then consult your doctor immediately. Do not take any anti-diarrhoea medicine without consulting a specialist doctor.

13. What happens if I take an overdose of Clarithromycin?

Taking an overdose of Clarithromycin is not safe. Always follow your physician's prescription for taking any dose of Clarithromycin and to avoid confusion ask them again before consuming the dose. Unfortunately, if you have taken an overdose, immediately call a medical emergency helpline or your hospital for help.

14. What should I do if I miss taking a Clarithromycin dose?

If you forget to take the dose of Clarithromycin at your prescribed time then take the dose as soon as possible if it is not too late. Or if it is already closer to your next scheduled dose then take the next dose only.

15. What happens if I consume an expired Clarithromycin tablet?

It is advised to check the manufacturing and expiry date of any medicine before consuming it. In case, if you have missed it and consumed an expired Clarithromycin tablet then immediately call a medical helpline or your hospital for emergency help as you may have some side effects.

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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.


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