GENERIC NAME: nitrofurantoin
BRAND NAMES: Macrodantin, Furadantin, Macrobid
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
USES: Nitrofurantoin is used to treat or prevent urinary tract infections.
SIDE EFFECTS: Common side effects include headache, rash, itching, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. The macrocrystalline form (Macrodantin) appears to cause less stomach upset. Stomach upset also can be minimized by using a lower dose or by taking nitrofurantoin with food or milk.
Nitrofurantoin can cause serious lung injury. The reaction can occur within hours of the start of treatment if the patient has previously received nitrofurantoin, or within a few days of starting nitrofurantoin for the first time. Symptoms include:
In other persons, lung injury may occur after approximately a month of treatment. Symptoms include:
- difficulty breathing,
- rapid breathing, and
Fortunately, the symptoms usually resolve within a week if the medication is stopped. In other individuals, lung injury may not develop until after several months or years of therapy. Unless it is recognized and treated, this delayed lung injury can result in permanent lung damage that remains even after the drug is stopped.
Nitrofurantoin can also cause damage to the sensory nerves of the arms and legs (peripheral neuropathy), which can cause tingling in the extremities. The condition can become severe and is more likely to occur in people with diabetes, vitamin B deficiency, or general debilitation.
Reduced red blood cell count (anemia) by breaking red blood cells (hemolytic anemia) can occur from nitrofurantoin. This reaction occurs most frequently in persons with a deficiency of an enzyme called glucose--6-phosphate dehydrogenase that is very important to the survival of red blood cells.
Treatment with nitrofurantoin can cause urine to change color to a dark yellow or brown.
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