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What is Macrobid (nitrofurantoin), and what is it used for?
Macrobid, Macrodantin, and Furadantin (nitrofurantoin) are antibiotics used for treating urinary tract infections (UTIs) caused by several types of bacteria including E. Coli, Enterobacter cystitis, Enterococcus, Klebsiella, and Staphylococcus aureus.
Macrobid is a sustained release form of macrocrystalline used twice daily, Macrodantin is a macrocrystalline form, and Furadantin is a microcrystalline form. The macrocrystalline form is more slowly absorbed than the microcrystalline form and is useful for patients who cannot tolerate the microcrystalline form. Common side effects of Macrobid, Macrodantin, and Furadantin include
- change in urine color,
- loss of appetite,
- diarrhea, and
- abdominal pain.
Serious side effects of Macrobid, Macrodantin, and Furadantin include
- lung injury (symptoms include difficulty breathing, chills, fever, chest pain, cough),
- liver damage that can lead to jaundice or hepatitis,
- exfoliative dermatitis,
- Clostridium difficile (C. diff) colitis,
- vasculitis, and
- tingling in the extremities.
Drug interactions of Macrobid, Macrodantin, and Furadantin include probenecid, sulfinpyrazone, magnesium trisilicate antacids, live tuberculosis vaccines (BCG vaccine) and live typhoid vaccines, and quinolone antibiotics.
There are no adequate studies of Macrobid, Macrodantin, and Furadantin in pregnant women but is generally considered safe. Macrobid, Macrodantin, and Furadantin should not be used near the time of delivery (38-42 weeks gestation) since it interferes with the immature enzyme systems in the red blood cells of newborns, potentially damaging the cells and resulting in anemia. Macrobid, Macrodantin, and Furadantin are distributed into breast milk and should be used with caution in women who are breastfeeding.
What are the important side effects of Macrobid (nitrofurantoin)
Common side effects of nitrofurantoin include:
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.
Possible serious side effects include:
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 people, lung injury may occur after approximately a month of treatment. Symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid breathing
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.
Macrobid (nitrofurantoin) side effects list for healthcare professionals
In clinical trials of Macrobid, the most frequent clinical adverse events that were reported as possibly or probably drug-related were nausea (8%), headache (6%): and flatulence (1.5%). Additional clinical adverse events reported as possibly or probably drug-related occurred in less than 1% of patients studied and are listed below within each body system in order of decreasing frequency:
Respiratory: Acute pulmonary hypersensitivity reaction
Miscellaneous: Fever, chills, malaise
The following additional clinical adverse events have been reported with the use of nitrofurantoin:
Gastrointestinal: Sialadenitis, pancreatitis. There have been sporadic reports of pseudomembranous colitis with the use of nitrofurantoin. The onset of pseudomembranous colitis symptoms may occur during or after antimicrobial treatment.
Neurologic: Peripheral neuropathy, which may become severe or irreversible, has occurred. Fatalities have been reported. Conditions such as renal impairment (creatinine clearance under 60 mL per minute or clinically significant elevated serum creatinine), anemia, diabetes mellitus, electrolyte imbalance, vitamin B deficiency, and debilitating diseases may increase the possibility of peripheral neuropathy.
Asthenia, vertigo, and nystagmus also have been reported with the use of nitrofurantoin.
Benign intracranial hypertension (pseudotumor cerebri), confusion, depression, optic neuritis, and psychotic reactions have been reported rarely. Bulging fontanels, as a sign of benign intracranial hypertension in infants, have been reported rarely.
CHRONIC, SUBACUTE, OR ACUTE PULMONARY HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTIONS MAY OCCUR WITH THE USE OF NITROFURANTOIN.
CHRONIC PULMONARY REACTIONS GENERALLY OCCUR IN PATIENTS WHO HAVE RECEIVED CONTINUOUS TREATMENT FOR SIX MONTHS OR LONGER. MALAISE, DYSPNEA ON EXERTION, COUGH, AND ALTERED PULMONARY FUNCTION ARE COMMON MANIFESTATIONS WHICH CAN OCCUR INSIDIOUSLY. RADIOLOGIC AND HISTOLOGIC FINDINGS OF DIFFUSE INTERSTITIAL PNEUMONITIS OR FIBROSIS, OR BOTH, ARE ALSO COMMON MANIFESTATIONS OF THE CHRONIC PULMONARY REACTION. FEVER IS RARELY PROMINENT
THE SEVERITY OF CHRONIC PULMONARY REACTIONS AND THEIR DEGREE OF RESOLUTION APPEAR TO BE RELATED TO THE DURATION OF THERAPY AFTER THE FIRST CLINICAL SIGNS APPEAR. PULMONARY FUNCTION MAY BE IMPAIRED PERMANENTLY, EVEN AFTER CESSATION OF THERAPY. THE RISK IS GREATER WHEN CHRONIC PULMONARY REACTIONS ARE NOT RECOGNIZED EARLY.
In subacute pulmonary reactions, fever and eosinophilia occur less often than in the acute form. Upon cessation of therapy, recovery may require several months. If the symptoms are not recognized as being drug-related and nitrofurantoin therapy is not stopped, the symptoms may become more severe.
Acute pulmonary reactions are commonly manifested by fever, chills, cough, chest pain, dyspnea, pulmonary infiltration with consolidation or pleural effusion on x-ray, and eosinophilia. Acute reactions usually occur within the first week of treatment and are reversible with cessation of therapy. Resolution often is dramatic.
Changes in EKG (e.g., non-specific ST/T wave changes, bundle branch block) have been reported in association with pulmonary reactions.
Cyanosis has been reported rarely.
Allergic: Lupus-like syndrome associated with pulmonary reaction to nitrofurantoin has been reported. Also, angioedema; maculopapular, erythematous, or eczematous eruptions; anaphylaxis; arthralgia; myalgia; drug fever; chills; and vasculitis (sometimes associated with pulmonary reactions) have been reported. Hypersensitivity reactions represent the most frequent spontaneously-reported adverse events in worldwide postmarketing experience with nitrofurantoin formulations.
Dermatologic: Exfoliative dermatitis and erythema multiforme (including Stevens-Johnson syndrome) have been reported rarely.
Miscellaneous: As with other antimicrobial agents, superinfections caused by resistant organisms, e.g., Pseudomonas species or Candida species, can occur.
In clinical trials of Macrobid, the most frequent laboratory adverse events (1-5%), without regard to drug relationship, were as follows: eosinophilia, increased AST (SGOT), increased ALT (SGPT), decreased hemoglobin, increased serum phosphorus. The following laboratory adverse events also have been reported with the use of nitrofurantoin: glucose-6- phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency anemia, agranulocytosis, leukopenia, granulocytopenia, hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, megaloblastic anemia. In most cases, these hematologic abnormalities resolved following cessation of therapy. Aplastic anemia has been reported rarely.
What drugs interact with Macrobid (nitrofurantoin)?
Antacids containing magnesium trisilicate, when administered concomitantly with nitrofurantoin, reduce both the rate and extent of absorption. The mechanism for this interaction probably is adsorption of nitrofurantoin onto the surface of magnesium trisilicate.
Uricosuric drugs, such as probenecid and sulfinpyrazone, can inhibit renal tubular secretion of nitrofurantoin. The resulting increase in nitrofurantoin serum levels may increase toxicity, and the decreased urinary levels could lessen its efficacy as a urinary tract antibacterial.
Drug/Laboratory Test Interactions
As a result of the presence of nitrofurantoin, a falsepositive reaction for glucose in the urine may occur. This has been observed with Benedict's and Fehling's solutions but not with the glucose enzymatic test.
Macrobid, Macrodantin, and Furadantin (nitrofurantoin) are antibiotics used for treating urinary tract infections (UTIs) caused by several types of bacteria including E. Coli, Enterobacter cystitis, Enterococcus, Klebsiella, and Staphylococcus aureus. Side effects include headache, rash, itching, nausea, vomiting, and others.
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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Professional side effects list and drug interactions sections courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
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