Clarithromycin (Oral)

Clarithromycin is a part of a group of medications called macrolide antibiotic that can be used for the treatment of a wide range of bacterial infections in the body.


Clarithromycin is used for the treatment of bacterial infections in a range of different body parts. It can also be used as a part of treatment for duodenal ulcers that result from H. pylori infection. Clarithromycin can also be used for the prevention of and the treatment of mycobacterium avium complex infection (MAC).

Clarithromycin is a part of the medicine group of macrolide antibiotics. The treatment kills bacteria to prevent their growth.

This treatment is not effective against viruses such as colds, flu and other viral infections.

This medication must be prescribed by a doctor.

Clarithromycin is produced in the forms of Biaxin, Biaxin XL and Biaxin Filmtab and is administered as either a tablet, as powder of suspension, or as an extended release tablet.

Condition treated

  • Bacterial infections
  • Duodenal ulcers
  • Myobacterium avium complex (MAC)

Type of medicine

  • Macrolide antibiotic

Side Effects

Although medications can produce much-needed effects on the body, they can also produce unwanted effects that may require you to seek medical attention. Not all of the following side effects may occur, but you may need to seek medical attention if you do experience them.

You should check with your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following side effects from the use of Clarithromycin:

Occurring less commonly:

  • style="font-weight: 400;">Coughing
  • Feverishness or chilliness
  • Hoarseness of voice
  • Lower back pain or side pain
  • Pain or difficulty experienced during urination

Occurring only rarely:

  • Abdominal soreness
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Fever occurring with or without chills
  • Nausea
  • Rash and itching of the skin
  • Severe abdominal cramping and pain
  • Shortness of breath without exertion
  • Stomach tenderness
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Unusual bruising
  • Vomiting
  • Watery and severe diarrhea
  • Yellow eyes
  • Yellow skin

Incidence unknown:

  • Abdomen or stomach pains
  • Anxiousness
  • Belief that others can read your mind
  • Belief that you are being watched or controlled by others
  • Blistering
  • Blurring of vision
  • Chest discomfort
  • Chest pains
  • Confusion about oneself, place, and time
  • Cool skin with pale coloration
  • Dark stools with a black or tarry appearance
  • Darkened urine
  • Depression or extreme sadness
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Experiencing things that aren't there
  • Fainting or faintness
  • Feeling of detachment from one's own body
  • Feeling that things aren't real
  • Hives
  • Increased appetite
  • Irregularity of heartbeat or pulse
  • Joint pain or muscle pain
  • Lightened-coloration of stools
  • Loss of hunger
  • Nightmares
  • Peeling and/or loosening of the skin
  • Recurrent fainting
  • Red and irritated eyes
  • Red skin lesions, which may have a purple center
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Severe changes in mood or mental state
  • Shakiness or trembling
  • Slowing of the heartbeat
  • Slurring of speech
  • Soreness of the throat
  • Sores or ulcers
  • Stools with a clay-like coloration
  • Sudden death
  • Swelling or soreness of the tongue
  • Swollen eyes, lips, or tongue, or general puffiness of face
  • Swollen glands
  • Tightness across the chest
  • Unpleasant odor of breath
  • Unusual behavior
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Unusual weakness
  • Vomiting up blood
  • Wheezing
  • White spots on the mouth or lips

Other side effects of this treatment may occur that would not normally necessitate that the patient seeks medical attention. If these side effects become bothersome or are ongoing, then you can consult your doctor on how to alleviate these side effects. The following side effects would not normally necessitate seeking medical attention:

Occurring less commonly:

  • Acid stomach
  • Sour stomach
  • Belching or burping
  • Bloated or full feeling despite not eating
  • Change to the sensation of taste
  • Mild diarrhea
  • Excess build up of air or gas in the stomach and/or intestines
  • Headaches
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Passing of gas or need to pass gas
  • Stomach discomfort or pain

Frequency of incidence unknown:

  • Changed sense of smell
  • Changes to mood or mental state
  • Discoloration of the teeth
  • Discoloration of the tongue
  • Inability to sleep
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of hearing
  • Loss of sense of taste
  • Mental depression
  • Sensation that oneself is spinning
  • Sensation that oneself or surroundings are constantly moving
  • Shakiness or trembling of the legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • Skin eruptions
  • Sleeplessness
  • Soreness of the mouth or tongue
  • Swollen or inflamed mouth
  • Troubled sleep
  • Unexplained noise that is not heard by others. Often a ringing or buzzing sound
  • Weight loss

Other side effects that have not been listed herein can also occur with the use of this medication. If you experience other side effects that have not been listed then you should contact your doctor for advice. If you are concerned about your immediate well-being then you should contact the emergency services straight away.


This medication should only be used as directed by a doctor. You should not take more than directed nor take it more frequently than directed. You should also ensure you take the treatment for the correct length of time, neither taking it for longer than prescribed nor stopping the treatment before you have been ordered to.

You should use this treatment for the full course prescribed, even if the infections appear to have cleared up and you feel healthy.

This medication can be taken separately from meals unless you are taking the extended-release tablets. If you are taking this treatment in the form of extended-release tablets then you must follow these instructions:

  • Tablet should be swallowed intact. You should not take broken tablets, nor should you crush, cut or in any way change the tablet before consumption.
  • Parts of the extended-release tablet may appear in your stools. This is normal and you should not be concerned about this.

If you are taking the oral liquid then you should measure this with a marked spoon and not with a kitchen spoon as these vary in size. Ensure that the bottle is well shaken each time before use.

If you are taking both clarithromycin and zidovudine then you should follow the doctor's instructions and take these medications at least 2 hours apart from one another.

The dose of this treatment will vary for each patient and you should follow the directions given to you by your doctor only. The following directions for use are a guideline only and you should not change your dose:

For the use of extended-release tablets taken orally:

  • To treat bacterial infections:

o Adults: 100mg once daily for either 7 or 14 days.

o Children: Use to be determined by the prescribing doctor.

o Adults: 100mg once daily for either 7 days.

o Children: Use to be determined by the prescribing doctor.

For the use of tablets and suspension powder taken orally:

  • To treat bacterial infections:

o Adults: 250-500mg twice daily for either 7 or 14 days.

o Children aged 6 months or older ' Use is based on body weight. Usually 7.5mg/kg taken twice daily for 10 days.

o Infants under the age of 6 months' Use to be determined by the prescribing doctor.

  • To treat community-acquired pneumonia:

o Adults: 250mg twice daily for either 7 or 14 days.

o Children aged 6 months or older' Use is based on body weight. Usually 7.5mg/kg taken twice daily for 10 days.

o Infants under the age of 6 months' Use to be determined by the prescribing doctor.

  • To prevent or treat Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection:

o Adults: 500mg twice daily.

o Children aged 6 months or older' Use is based on body weight. Usually 7.5mg/kg up to a maximum of 500mg daily. Dose taken twice daily.

o Infants under the age of 6 months' Use to be determined by the prescribing doctor.

  • To treat ulcers caused by H. pylori:

o Adults:500mg twice or thrice daily for either 10 or 14 days. Taken in combination with omeprazole, ranitidine bismuth sulfate, amoxicillin and lansoprazole, or amoxicillin and omeprazole.

o Children - Use to be determined by the prescribing doctor.

If a dose of this medication is missed then you should take it as soon as possible. If, however, you are close to your next dose being due then you should skip the missed dose altogether and return to your regular schedule of dosing. Never take a double dose of this medication.


This medication has a large number of interactions with other medications and as such you should be sure to inform your doctor of all medications that you are taking. This includes prescribed medication, herbal remedies, over the counter treatments and any other substances that you might be taking. In some cases medications can interact with each other violently, causing severe side effects in the patient. In other cases, they can stop each other from working or increase the risk of exposure to or the severity of side effects. It is especially important that you inform your doctor if you are taking any of the following medications:

The following medications should not be used in conjunction with Clarithromycin. Your doctor may wish to prescribe alternative medications:

  • Ziprasidone
  • Venetoclax
  • Tolvaptan
  • Thioridazine
  • Terfenadine
  • Sparfloxacin
  • Simvastatin
  • Silodosin
  • Saquinavir
  • Ranolazine
  • Posaconazole
  • Piperaquine
  • Pimozide
  • Nimodipine
  • Nelfinavir
  • Naloxegol
  • Methysergide
  • Methylergonovine
  • Mesoridazine
  • Maraviroc
  • Lurasidone
  • Lovastatin
  • Lomitapide
  • Ketoconazole
  • Ivabradine
  • Isavuconazonium sulfate
  • Fluconazole
  • Flibanserin
  • Ergotamine
  • Ergonovine
  • Ergoloid mesylates
  • Eplerenone
  • Eliglustat
  • Eletriptan
  • Dronedarone
  • Dihydroergotamine
  • Conivaptan
  • Colchicine
  • Cisapride
  • Bepridil
  • Astemizole
  • Amisulpride
  • Amifampridine
  • Alfuzosin

Clarithromycin use would not normally be recommended with the following. Treatment with both may still be the best treatment for you, but your doctor may wish to adjust doses or frequency of use in order to make use safe:

  • Zuclopenthixol
  • Zolpidem
  • Zileuton
  • Zidovudine
  • Zaleplon
  • Warfarin
  • Vorinostat
  • Voriconazole
  • Vorapaxar
  • Vinorelbine
  • Vinflunine
  • Vincristine sulfate liposome
  • Vincristine
  • Vinblastine
  • Vilazodone
  • Vilanterol
  • Verapamil
  • Venlafaxine
  • Vemurafenib
  • Vardenafil
  • Vandetanib
  • Triptorelin
  • Trimipramine
  • Trimethoprim
  • Triazolam
  • Trazodone
  • Tramadol
  • Trabectedin
  • Toremifene
  • Topotecan
  • Tolterodine
  • Tizanidine
  • Ticagrelor
  • Thiopental
  • Tetrabenazine
  • Temsirolimus
  • Telithromycin
  • Telavancin
  • Telaprevir
  • Tamsulosin
  • Tamoxifen
  • Tadalafil
  • Tacrolimus
  • Suvorexant
  • Sunitinib
  • Sulpiride
  • Sulfamethoxazole
  • St John's wort
  • Spiramycin
  • Sotalol
  • Sorafenib
  • Sonidegib
  • Solifenacin
  • Sodium phosphate, monobasic
  • Sodium phosphate, dibasic
  • Sodium phosphate
  • Sirolimus
  • Simeprevir
  • Sildenafil
  • Sevoflurane
  • Sertindole
  • Secobarbital
  • Salmeterol
  • Ruxolitinib
  • Romidepsin
  • Roflumilast
  • Rivaroxaban
  • Ritonavir
  • Risperidone
  • Rifapentine
  • Rifabutin
  • Retapamulin
  • Regorafenib
  • Reboxetine
  • Quinine
  • Quinidine
  • Quetiapine
  • Protriptyline
  • Propafenone
  • Promethazine
  • Prochlorperazine
  • Procainamide
  • Probucol
  • Ponatinib
  • Pixantrone
  • Pitolisant
  • Pirmenol
  • Pipamperone
  • Pimavanserin
  • Phenytoin
  • Phenobarbital
  • Perphenazine
  • Perflutren lipid microsphere
  • Perampanel
  • Pentobarbital
  • Pentamidine
  • Pazopanib
  • Pasireotide
  • Paroxetine
  • Panobinostat
  • Paliperidone
  • Palbociclib
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Ospemifene
  • Ondansetron
  • Olaparib
  • Olanzapine
  • Ofloxacin
  • Octreotide
  • Nortriptyline
  • Norfloxacin
  • Nisoldipine
  • Nilotinib
  • Nifedipine
  • Nicardipine
  • Nafcillin
  • Nafarelin
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Morphine sulfate liposome
  • Morphine
  • Modafinil
  • Mizolastine
  • Mifepristone
  • Midazolam
  • Metronidazole
  • Methohexital
  • Methadone
  • Mephobarbital
  • Mefloquine
  • Manidipine
  • Macitentan
  • Lumefantrine
  • Lumacaftor
  • Losartan
  • Lorcainide
  • Lopinavir
  • Levomilnacipran
  • Levofloxacin
  • Leuprolide
  • Letrozole
  • Lapatinib
  • Ixabepilone
  • Ivacaftor
  • Itraconazole
  • Isradipine
  • Isoflurane
  • Irinotecan liposome
  • Irinotecan
  • Imipramine
  • Iloperidone
  • Ifosfamide
  • Idelalisib
  • Ibutilide
  • Ibrutinib
  • Hydroxyzine
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Hydroquinidine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Histrelin
  • Halothane
  • Haloperidol
  • Halofantrine
  • Granisetron
  • Goserelin
  • Gonadorelin
  • Gemifloxacin
  • Gatifloxacin
  • Galantamine
  • Fosphenytoin
  • Foscarnet
  • Fosaprepitant
  • Fluticasone
  • Fluoxetine
  • Flecainide
  • Fingolimod
  • Fentanyl
  • Felodipine
  • Felbamate
  • Famotidine
  • Everolimus
  • Etravirine
  • Eszopiclone
  • Estazolam
  • Escitalopram
  • Erythromycin
  • Erlotinib
  • Eribulin
  • Enzalutamide
  • Efavirenz
  • Ebastine
  • Dutasteride
  • Droperidol
  • Doxorubicin hydrochloride liposome
  • Doxorubicin
  • Doxepin
  • Donepezil
  • Domperidone
  • Dolasetron
  • Dofetilide
  • Docetaxel
  • Disopyramide
  • Diltiazem
  • Digoxin
  • Dexamethasone
  • Deslorelin
  • Desipramine
  • Delamanid
  • Degarelix
  • Dasatinib
  • Daclatasvir
  • Dabrafenib
  • Dabigatran etexilate
  • Cyclobenzaprine
  • Crizotinib
  • Cobimetinib
  • Cobicistat
  • Clozapine
  • Clonazepam
  • Clomipramine
  • Citalopram
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Cilostazol
  • Cholera vaccine, live
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Chloroquine
  • Ceritinib
  • Cariprazine
  • Carbamazepine
  • Calcifediol
  • Cabozantinib
  • Cabazitaxel
  • Butalbital
  • Butabarbital
  • Buserelin
  • Bromocriptine
  • Brexpiprazole
  • Bretylium
  • Bosutinib
  • Bedaquiline
  • Azithromycin
  • Axitinib
  • Avanafil
  • Atorvastatin
  • Atazanavir
  • Asenapine
  • Artemether
  • Arsenic Trioxide
  • Aripiprazole
  • Aprobarbital
  • Aprindine
  • Aprepitant
  • Apomorphine
  • Apixaban
  • Anagrelide
  • Amprenavir
  • Amobarbital
  • Amlodipine
  • Amitriptyline
  • Amiodarone
  • Alprazolam
  • Ajmaline
  • Afatinib
  • Ado-Trastuzumab emtansine

Use of the following treatments in addition to the use of Clarithromycin will expose the patient to a greater risk of certain side effects occurring. Both treatments may be prescribed, but the doctor may wish to make adjustments to the frequency of use and/or dose given:

  • Tipranavir
  • Rifampin
  • Repaglinide
  • Prednisone
  • Pravastatin
  • Nevirapine
  • Methylprednisolone
  • Linezolid
  • Indinavir
  • Hexobarbital
  • Glyburide
  • Glipizide
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Estropipate
  • Estrone
  • Estriol
  • Estradiol
  • Esterified estrogens
  • Diazepam
  • Delavirdine
  • Darunavir
  • Cyclosporine
  • Conjugated estrogens
  • Alfentanil
  • Acenocoumarol

Other interactions with medications that have not been listed here may occur. This list has been selected for severity. You should inform your doctor of all medications that you are taking before beginning this treatment.

Medications can also have an impact on or be impacted by other medical problems that are not being treated with the use of this drug. You should inform your doctor of any and all medical conditions from which you suffer or from which you have suffered in the past before beginning this treatment. This is particularly important if you suffer from any of the following conditions:

Do not use Clarithromycin in patients who have a history of these problems:

The combination of Clarithromycin with ranitidine should not be used in patients with the following conditions:

  • Decreased kidney function
  •  Prophyria

These conditions may be worsened by the use of Clarithromycin:

  • Diarrhea
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Myashenia

The following conditions should be treated and corrected before the use of Clarithromycin:

  • Hypokalemia
  • Hypomagnesemia

The combination of Clarithromycin and colchicine should not be used in patients who suffer from the following conditions:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

In patients suffering from the following, the effects of treatment and side effects may be increased because of a lowered ability to remove the medication from the bloodstream:

  • Severe kidney disease

Other medical conditions may also impact the use of this treatment in patients. The conditions listed herein have been mentioned for severity, but you should inform your doctor of all medical conditions from which you suffer or from which you have suffered in the past.


Before deciding to begin treatment with this medication you should consider the benefits of treatment in relation to the risks of using the medication. To reach this discussion you should consider all side effects, medication interactions and medical conditions listed herein with your doctor. You should also ensure that you have considered all of the following:

Allergie: Inform your doctor of any allergic reactions you have had in the past. This includes reactions to medicines, to treatments, to dyes, to preservatives and to foods and other substances.

Pediatric: Childhood use has been tested and shown to be effective. However, treatment for children below the age of 6 months has not been tested for safe and efficient use. Use for the prevention and treatment of mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) has not been tested for safety and efficiency in children below the age of 20 months. Discuss this with your doctor.

Geriatric: No age-related problems or side effects specific to elderly patients have been identified. The elderly are, however, more likely to suffer from age-related problems that may impact the receiving of Clarithromycin. This may impact use or may require an alteration of dosage to be made.

Pregnancy: There is a potential risk posed to the fetus in a pregnant woman from the use of this treatment. You should inform your doctor if you are pregnant or think that you might be pregnant before beginning treatment.

Breastfeeding: You should weigh the potential benefits against the risks of breastfeeding with your doctor. There have been no adequate studies to measure the potential risks of use while breastfeeding.

Your doctor may need to you to return for a check up to assess the progress of you or your child during treatment. This visit may involve blood and/or urine tests being taken to check for the occurrence of unwanted side effects.

If symptoms do not begin to improve, or if they become worse after a few days of treatment use then you should contact your doctor.

If you think you have become pregnant during use of this treatment then you should inform your doctor straight away.

Liver problems may develop from the use of this treatment. If you experience the following symptoms of liver problems then you should stop taking the medication and should contact your doctor immediately:

  • Pain in the stomach
  • Pale coloration of stools
  • Darkened urine
  • Lack of hunger
  • Nausea
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Unusual weakness
  • Yellowing of the eyes
  • Yellowing of the skin

You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience any changes to your heart rhythm. This is particularly important if anyone in your family has a history of any heart rhythm problems.

This medication can cause you to suffer severe diarrhea that could last for up to 2 months. Diarrhea medications can also make this worse, so you should check with your doctor before taking anything to try and alleviate this side effect.

Anaphylaxis may occur from the use of this treatment. Before taking the medication you should be aware of the symptoms of anaphylaxis and know how to react. You should contact the emergency services for immediate medical attention if you experience the following symptoms:

This medication can also cause serious skin reactions. If you notice peeling, loosening or blistering of the skin then you should contact your doctor for advice.

Inform any doctor or dentist who may be treating you for any other condition that you are using this medication. This treatment can alter the results of medical tests and may prohibit carrying out certain other procedures.

You should not take any other medications along with this treatment unless you have discussed this with your doctor. This includes any other prescribed medications and over the counter medications.


You should always store this medication out of the reach of children.

This medication should not be kept once treatment is completed or if the medication is outdated. Dispose of this treatment properly ensuring that it will not come into contact with children.

Store this medication in the original packaging at room temperature.

Keep treatment away from heat, moisture and from direct light.

Prevent treatment from freezing.

Any unused oral medication should be disposed of after 14 days from opening. Do not refrigerate the oral liquid.


Clarithromycin is a macrolide antibiotic that can be used to treat a wide range of infections in patients.

Clarithromycin is used for the treatment of bacterial infections in a range of different body parts. It can also be used as a part of treatment for duodenal ulcers that result from H. pylori infection. Clarithromycin is also used for the prevention of and the treatment of mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection.

This medication is prescribed by your doctor and is administered in the form of a tablet, powder for suspension, or extended-release tablet. If you are taking the extended-release tablet then it must be swallowed whole and unbroken. This tablet will then release the treatment slowly over time to prevent too much of the drug entering the body at once.

This treatment can be used on both adults and children above the age of 6 months for the treatment of bacterial infection.

This treatment will not have any effect on viral infections such as flu or the common cold and should never be taken for the treatment of these conditions.

This medication should be taken exactly as instructed for as long as instructed. Patients may start to feel better before the treatment course is complete, but they should not stop treatment unless a doctor has directed them to. It is important that courses of antibiotics are completed to prevent the bacteria from building up a resistance to the drug. If the bacteria is not completely destroyed then the infection will return and it may be immune to the treatments available.

This medication can cause serious medical conditions in patients so it is important that you familiarize yourself with the potential side effects and know how to react to these side effects. Doing so will allow you to react appropriately if anything does go wrong.

Inform your doctor before use if you believe yourself to be pregnant or think there is a chance that you are pregnant.