What is clarithromycin?
Clarithromycin is a macrolide antibiotic that fights bacteria in your body.
Clarithromycin is used to treat many different types of bacterial infections affecting the skin and respiratory system.
Clarithromycin is also used together with other medicines to treat stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori.
Take clarithromycin for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics. This medicine will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to clarithromycin or similar antibiotics, if you have ever had jaundice or liver problems caused by taking this medicine, or if you have liver or kidney disease and are also taking colchicine.
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using. Many drugs can interact with clarithromycin, and some drugs should not be used together.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to clarithromycin or similar medicines such as azithromycin (Zithromax, Z-Pak, Zmax), erythromycin, or telithromycin, or if:
- you have had jaundice or liver problems caused by taking clarithromycin; or
- you have liver or kidney disease and you also take a medicine called colchicine.
Some medicines can cause unwanted or dangerous effects when used with clarithromycin. Your doctor may need to change your treatment plan if you use any of the following drugs:
- lovastatin or simvastatin; or
- ergotamine or dihydroergotamine.
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- heart problems;
- long QT syndrome (in you or a family member);
- coronary artery disease (clogged arteries);
- myasthenia gravis;
- liver disease;
- kidney disease;
- diabetes; or
- an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood).
Clarithromycin may harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant.
How should I take clarithromycin?
Take clarithromycin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Do not use this medicine to treat any condition that has not been checked by your doctor. Do not share this medicine with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have.
You may take the regular tablets and oral suspension (liquid) with or without food.
Clarithromycin extended-release tablets should be taken with food.
Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole.
Clarithromycin is usually given for 7 to 14 days. Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time, even if your symptoms quickly improve. Skipping doses can increase your risk of infection that is resistant to medication. Clarithromycin will not treat a viral infection such as the flu or a common cold.
Store this medicine in the original container at room temperature, away from moisture, heat, and light.
If your infection is treated with a combination of drugs, use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice.