clarithromycin, Biaxin, Biaxin XL

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GENERIC NAME: clarithromycin

BRAND NAME: Biaxin, Biaxin XL

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Clarithromycin is a semi-synthetic macrolide antibiotic chemically related to erythromycin and azithromycin (Zithromax). It is effective against a wide variety of bacteria, such as Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, and mycobacterium avium, and many others. Like all macrolide antibiotics, clarithromycin prevents bacteria from growing by interfering with their ability to make proteins. Due to the differences in the way proteins are made in bacteria and humans, the macrolide antibiotics do not interfere with production of proteins in humans. The FDA approved clarithromycin in October 1991.

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Tablets (immediate or extended release): 250 and 500 mg. Suspension: 125 or 250 mg per 5 ml (teaspoonful).

STORAGE: Tablets and suspension should be stored at room temperature 15 -30 C (59-86 F) in a tightly closed container. The oral suspension should not be refrigerated after mixing and should be used within 14 days.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Clarithromycin is effective against susceptible bacteria causing infections of the middle ear, tonsillitis, throat infections, laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, and skin infections. It also is used in treating infections caused by mycobacterium avium, a bacterium closely related to the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. Clarithromycin has been used in combination with omeprazole/sodium bicarbonate (Prilosec) in treating H. Pylori that causes stomach ulcers.

DOSING: Clarithromycin may be taken with or without food. For most infections the recommended adult dose is 250-500 mg of immediate release tablets twice daily or 1000 mg of extended release tablets once daily for 7-14 days.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Clarithromycin interacts with several drugs because it reduces the activity of liver enzymes that breakdown many drugs. This leads to increased blood levels and side effects from the affected drugs. Examples of such interactions include

Clarithromycin increases blood levels of sildenafil (Viagra, Revatio), tadalafil (Cialis, Adcirca), vardenafil (Levitra), theophylline and carbamazepine (Tegretol), thereby increasing side effects of these drugs.




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