What is this medication?
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.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Biaxin
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- heart disease
- history of irregular heartbeat
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- myasthenia gravis
- an unusual or allergic reaction to clarithromycin, other macrolide antibiotics, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
Take this medicine by mouth with glass of water. If it upsets your stomach you can take it with milk or food. 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.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
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.
What may interact with this medication?
Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
- certain medicines for fungal infections like fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole
This medicine may also interact with the following medications:
- birth control pills
- certain medicines for anxiety or sleep like alprazolam, triazolam
- certain medicines for cholesterol like atorvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin
- certain medicines for irregular heart beat like amiodarone, disopyramide, flecainide, procainamide, quinidine
- certain medicines that treat or prevent clots like warfarin
- ergot alkaloids like ergotamine, dihydroergotamine
- other antibiotics like grepafloxacin, rifabutin, sparfloxacin
- other medicines that prolong the QT interval (cause an abnormal heart rhythm)
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Tell your doctor or health care provider if your symptoms do not improve.
This medicine may cause serious skin reactions. They can happen weeks to months after starting the medicine. Contact your health care provider right away if you notice fevers or flu-like symptoms with a rash. The rash may be red or purple and then turn into blisters or peeling of the skin. Or, you might notice a red rash with swelling of the face, lips or lymph nodes in your neck or under your arms.
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.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
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
- rash, fever, and swollen lymph nodes
- 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
- intestinal gas
- stomach upset or nausea
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medication?
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Keep container tightly closed. Protect from light. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy