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Clarithromycin Oral tablet, extended-release

What is this medicine?

CLARITHROMYCIN (kla RITH roe mye sin) is a macrolide antibiotic. It is used to treat or prevent certain kinds of bacterial infections. It will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with food. Swallow the tablets whole, do not break, chew, or crush. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Take all of your medicine as directed even if you think your are better. Do not skip doses or stop your medicine early. Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

  • irregular heartbeat or chest pain

  • pain or difficulty passing urine

  • redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth

  • yellowing of the eyes or skin

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • abnormal taste

  • anxiety, confusion, or nightmares

  • diarrhea

  • headache

  • intestinal gas

  • stomach upset or nausea

What may interact with this medicine?

  • carbamazepine

  • cisapride

  • colchicine

  • cyclosporine

  • digoxin

  • medicines for fungal infections like fluconazole, ketoconazole and itraconazole

  • medicines for sleep or anxiety like alprazolam or triazolam

  • some medicines for headaches like ergotamine or dihydroergotamine

  • some medicines for high cholesterol like atorvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin

  • some medicines for irregular heart rhythm like amiodarone, disopyramide, dofetilide, flecainide, procainamide, quinidine

  • omeprazole

  • other antibiotics like grepafloxacin or sparfloxacin

  • pimozide

  • rifabutin

  • ritonavir

  • sildenafil

  • terfenadine

  • theophylline

  • warfarin

  • zidovudine

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Keep container tightly closed. Protect from light. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • bowel disease, like colitis

  • irregular heartbeat or heart disease

  • kidney disease

  • liver disease

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to clarithromycin, other macrolide antibiotics, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast-feeding

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Tell your doctor or health care professional if your symptoms do not improve.

Do not treat diarrhea with over the counter products. Contact your doctor if you have diarrhea that lasts more than 2 days or if it is severe and watery.

If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar carefully while on this medicine.

Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Akin, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRC
Last Review Date: 4/1/2009
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.