What are clarithromycin tablets and extended-release tablets?
CLARITHROMYCIN (Biaxin® or Biaxin® XL) is an antibiotic. Clarithromycin kills certain bacteria or stops their growth. It treats ear, lung, sinus, throat and skin infections. This medicine is also is used to treat a certain bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers. Clarithromycin will not work for colds, flu, or other virus infections. Biaxin® XL is an extended-release form of clarithromycin that only needs to be taken once daily. Generic clarithromycin tablets and extended-release tablets are available.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions: • diarrhea • irregular heart beat or abnormal heart beat • kidney disease • liver disease • stomach problems (especially colitis) • other chronic illness • an unusual or allergic reaction to clarithromycin or other macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin), foods, dyes, or preservatives • pregnant or trying to get pregnant • breast-feeding
How should I take this medicine?
Take clarithromycin tablets by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take the tablets with a full glass of water. You may take clarithromycin regular-release tablets with or without food, but be sure to take the extended-release tablets (Biaxin® XL) with food. Taking clarithromycin with food may reduce stomach upset. Do not crush or chew the Biaxin® XL tablets. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Finish the full course prescribed by your prescriber or health care professional even if you think your condition is better. Do not stop taking except on your prescriber's advice.
Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
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. There should be an interval of at least 6 hours between Biaxin® doses, and at least 12 hours between Biaxin® XL doses.
What drug(s) may interact with clarithromycin?
• astemizole • birth control pills • carbamazepine • cisapride • colchicine • digoxin • dofetilide • doxercalciferol • ergot alkaloid medicines, like ergotamine • other antibiotics, like grepafloxacin or sparfloxacin • paricalcitol • pimozide • ritonavir • some 'statin' medicines for reducing cholesterol (examples: atorvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin) • terfenadine • theophylline • triazolam • warfarin • zidovudine
Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines that you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.
What side effects may I notice from taking clarithromycin?
Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible: • difficulty breathing • redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth • severe or watery diarrhea • skin rash, itching • swelling of tongue or throat • vomiting • yellow color of eyes, skin, or urine
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome): • changes in taste or smell • headache • nausea • stomach pains or cramps
What should I watch for while taking clarithromycin?
Tell your prescriber or health care professional if your symptoms do not improve in 2 to 3 days. Make sure to take all of this medicine as prescribed, even if you begin to feel better.
Clarithromycin may decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. Women should use additional forms of birth control during the month they received clarithromycin. Depending on the length of clarithromycin treatment, additional birth control methods may be needed for at least one menstrual cycle after the antibiotic is finished.
If you get severe or watery diarrhea, do not treat yourself. Call your prescriber or health care professional for advice.
If you are going to have surgery, tell your prescriber or health care professional that you are taking clarithromycin.
Where can I keep my medicine?
Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.
Store at room temperature between 15° and 30°C (59° and 86°F). Keep container tightly closed. Protect from light. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.