clarithromycin, Biaxin, Biaxin XL (cont.)

Pharmacy Author:
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

Itraconazole (Sporanox) and saquinavir (Invirase) may increase blood levels of clarithromycin while clarithromycin increases blood levels or both drugs.

The occurrence of abnormal heart beats may increase when clarithromycin is combined with drugs that affect heart beat (for example, amiodarone [Coradone], quinidine [Quinidine Gluconate, Quinidine Sulfate], and disopyramide).

PREGNANCY: Safe use of clarithromycin in pregnancy has not been established. There are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

NURSING MOTHERS: Clarithromycin is excreted in breast milk.

SIDE EFFECTS: Clarithromycin generally is well tolerated, and side effects usually are mild and transient. Commonly reported side effects include nausea, diarrhea, abnormal taste, dyspepsia, abdominal pain and headache.

Rare but more serious side effects include liver failure, abnormal heart beats, hearing loss, and seizures.

Clarithromycin should be avoided by patients known to be allergic to clarithromycin or other chemically-related macrolide antibiotics, such as erythromycin. Treatment with clarithromycin and other antibiotics can alter the normal bacteria flora of the colon and permit overgrowth of C. difficile, a bacterium responsible for pseudomembranous colitis. Patients who develop pseudomembranous colitis as a result of antibiotics treatment may experience diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and sometimes even shock.

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

Last Editorial Review: 2/3/2012

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