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Drug Information For:


Ingredient Name:

CLARITHROMYCIN (kla-RITH-roe-mye-sin)

Drug Manufacturer:


Common Uses:

This medicine is a macrolide antibiotic used to treat infections caused by certain bacteria. It may also be used to prevent a certain infection in persons with advanced HIV infection.

Before Using This Medicine:

Some medicines or medical conditions may interact with this medicine. INFORM YOUR DOCTOR OR PHARMACIST of all prescription and over-the-counter medicine that you are taking. DO NOT TAKE THIS MEDICINE if you are also taking alfuzosin, certain antiarrhythmics (eg, amiodarone, dofetilide, dronedarone, procainamide, propafenone, quinidine, sotalol), asenapine, avanafil, bosutinib, cabazitaxel, cisapride, citalopram, conivaptan, crizotinib, diltiazem, eletriptan, an ergot alkaloid (eg, dihydroergotamine, ergotamine), everolimus, ivabradine, lovastatin, lurasidone, nilotinib, pimozide, quinupristin/dalfopristin, ranolazine, regorafenib, salmeterol, sildenafil, silodosin, simvastatin, tadalafil, tamsulosin, tetrabenazine, ticagrelor, tolvaptan, vardenafil, or vincristine. DO NOT TAKE THIS MEDICINE if you have kidney or liver problems and you are also taking colchicine. ADDITIONAL MONITORING OF YOUR DOSE OR CONDITION may be needed if you are taking other prescription or nonprescription medicines (eg, used for abortion, allergies, anxiety, asthma or other lung or breathing problems, blood thinning, blood vessel problems, cancer, Cushing syndrome, cystic fibrosis, decreased blood clot formation, depression or other mental or mood problems, diabetes, enlarged prostate, erectile dysfunction, gout, hepatitis C infection, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high prolactin levels, HIV, Huntington chorea, immune system suppression, infections, inflammation, irregular heartbeat or other heart problems, migraines, myelofibrosis, narcotic addiction, nausea and vomiting, pain, parathyroid problems, pulmonary arterial hypertension / PAH, overactive bladder, seizures, sleep, stomach or bowel problems, Tourette syndrome), multivitamin products, or herbal or dietary supplements. Tell your doctor if you take any medicine that may increase the risk of a certain type of irregular heartbeat (prolonged QT interval). Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure if any of your medicines may increase the risk of this type of irregular heartbeat or might interact with this medicine. DO NOT START OR STOP any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval. Inform your doctor of any other medical conditions, including the blood disorder porphyria, kidney problems, liver problems, myasthenia gravis, allergies, pregnancy, or breast-feeding. Tell your doctor if you have a history of heart problems (eg, fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat), or low blood potassium or magnesium levels. USE OF THIS MEDICINE IS NOT RECOMMENDED if you have had liver problems or yellowing of the skin or eyes cause by previous use of this medicine. USE OF THIS MEDICINE IS NOT RECOMMENDED if you have a very slow heartbeat, certain types of irregular heartbeat (eg, QT prolongation, long QT syndrome, ventricular arrhythmias), or low blood potassium or magnesiumlevels. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns about taking this medicine.

How to Use This Medicine:

Follow the directions for using this medicine provided by your doctor. SHAKE WELL before taking each dose. Use a measuring device marked for medicine dosing. Ask your pharmacist for help if you are unsure of how to measure this dose. THIS MEDICINE MAY BE TAKEN with food or on an empty stomach. TO COMPLETELY RINSE ALL OF THE MEDICINE FROM THE MOUTH, follow each dose of this medicine with water or food. IF YOU ARE ALSO TAKING ZIDOVUDINE, do not take it within 2 hours before or after this medicine. STORE THIS MEDICINE at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C), in a tightly closed container away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Throw away any unused medicine after 14 days. DO NOT REFRIGERATE. KEEP THIS MEDICINE out of the reach of children and away from pets. This medicine works best if it is taken at the same time(s) each day. BE SURE TO USE THIS MEDICINE FOR THE FULL COURSE OF TREATMENT even if you feel better in a few days. If you do not, the medicine may not clear up your infection completely. The bacteria could also become less sensitive to this or other medicines. This could make the infection harder to treat in the future. Do not miss any doses. IF YOU MISS A DOSE OF THIS MEDICINE, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. DO NOT take 2 doses at once.


DO NOT TAKE THIS MEDICINE if you have had an allergic reaction to it, to any ingredient in this product, or to any other macrolide (eg, erythromycin). BEFORE YOU HAVE ANY MEDICAL OR DENTAL TREATMENTS, EMERGENCY CARE, OR SURGERY, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking this medicine. DIZZINESS OR CONFUSION MAY OCCUR while you take this medicine. Use this medicine with caution. DO NOT drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it. MILD DIARRHEA IS COMMON WITH ANTIBIOTIC USE. However, a more serious and sometimes fatal form of diarrhea (pseudomembranous colitis) may rarely occur. This may develop while you use the antibiotic or within several months after you stop using it. Contact your doctor right away if stomach pain or cramps, severe diarrhea, or bloody stools occur. Do not treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor. THIS MEDICINE ONLY WORKS AGAINST BACTERIA; it does not treat viral infections (eg, the common cold). LONG-TERM OR REPEATED USE OF THIS MEDICINE may cause a second infection. Tell your doctor if signs of a second infection occur. Your medicine may need to be changed to treat this. SEVERE AND SOMETIMES FATAL LIVER PROBLEMS HAVE BEEN REPORTED WITH THIS MEDICINE. This has usually been reversible when the medicine is stopped. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor. Tell your doctor right away if you experience symptoms of liver problems (eg, yellowing of the skin or eyes; dark urine; pale stools; severe or persistent nausea, loss of appetite, or stomach pain; unusual tiredness). THERE HAVE BEEN REPORTS OF TOOTH DISCOLORATION with the use of this medicine. This has usually been reversible with a dental cleaning. THERE HAVE BEEN REPORTS OF HEARING LOSS with this medicine, usually in elderly women. This has usually been reversible. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor. BEFORE YOU BEGIN TAKING ANY NEW MEDICINE, either prescription or over-the-counter, check with your doctor or pharmacist. CAUTION IS ADVISED WHEN USING THIS MEDICINE IN THE ELDERLY because they may be more sensitive to the effects of this medicine, especially irregular heartbeat (prolonged QT interval). FOR WOMEN: THIS MEDICINE HAS BEEN SHOW TO CAUSE HARM TO THE FETUS. This medicine is not recommended for use during pregnancy except when no other antibiotics can be used. IF YOU THINK YOU MAY BE PREGNANT, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using this medicine during pregnancy. THIS DRUG IS EXCRETED in breast milk. IF YOU ARE OR WILL BE BREAST-FEEDING while you are using this medicine, check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby. DIABETES PATIENTS: This medicine may rarely affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely and ask your doctor before adjusting the dose of your diabetes medicine.

Possible Side Effects:

SIDE EFFECTS that may occur while taking this medicine include abnormal taste, diarrhea, mild stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting. If they continue or are bothersome, check with your doctor. A VERY BAD SKIN REACTION (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause very bad health problems that may not go away and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes. CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY if you experience bloody or watery stools; confusion; decreased urination; dizziness; fast or irregular heartbeat; hallucinations; loss of taste or sense of smell; mental or mood changes (eg, depression); muscle pain or weakness; nightmares; purple spots on the skin; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; seizures; severe or persistent diarrhea or stomach cramps; severe stomach pain (with or without nausea or vomiting); symptoms of liver problems (eg, yellowing of the skin or eyes; dark urine; pale stools; severe or persistent nausea, loss of appetite, or stomach pain; unusual tiredness); tremor; or trouble sleeping. AN ALLERGIC REACTION to this medicine is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your healthcare provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately.

Additional Information:

DO NOT SHARE THIS MEDICINE with others for whom it was not prescribed. DO NOT USE THIS MEDICINE for other health conditions. CHECK WITH YOUR PHARMACIST about how to dispose of unused medicine.

Copyright 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.


- This information is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice. Be sure to contact your physician, pharmacist or other health care provider for more information about this medication. By searching these web site pages, you agree to our terms and conditions of use.