Telithromycin (Oral)

Telithromycin belongs to a class of antibiotics known as ketolides; it works by inhibiting the synthesis of bacterial protein, hence preventing the growth of bacteria.


Telithromycin is an antibiotic medication used for treating certain types of sinus and pneumonia infections. This drug cannot be used to treat viral infections such as flu or common cold. Doctors advise that this medication is used responsibly as it can become ineffective if used unnecessarily or overused.

Telithromycin belongs to a class of drugs known as ketolides and works by obstructing the synthesis of bacterial protein, which ultimately stops the growth of bacteria in the body. Aside from treating pneumonia, this drug may additionally be used to treat certain kinds of sinus infections also caused by bacteria.

This medication comes in the form of tablets and is taken by mouth or orally. The dosage requirement depends on a patient's overall health condition and response to treatment. Patients are advised to follow the dosage instructions of the doctor in order to have better chances of recovery. Those who stop taking this medication without the permission of a doctor risk being reinfected.

While this medication helps patient fight pneumonia symptoms caused by bacteria, taking a few doses will certainly produce certain side effects. Unwanted effects can range from severe to less severe. Talk to your doctor if you notice any side effects while taking this medication. Less serious side effects should ease once the medications adjust to your body. Severe side effects should be reported as soon as possible for quick medical intervention.

Conditions treated:

  • Community-acquired pneumonia
  • Sinus infection caused by bacteria

Type of medicine:

  • Antibiotic

Side effects:

Taking telithromycin helps bring relief to patients suffering from community-acquired pneumonia caused by bacteria. But along with the desired effects, this drug may cause side effects when taken. However, side effects occur may be experienced differently by patients taking this medication. It's recommended that you seek medical attention if some of the unwanted side effects persist or worsen. Talk to your doctor urgently if you experience any of these side effects while taking this medication.

Rare side effects

  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • Blistering of the skin
  • Loosening of the skin
  • Blurred vision
  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Cough
  • Dark urine
  • Convulsions
  • Decreased urine
  • Difficulty with breathing,
  • Difficulty with talking, swallowing or chewing
  • Dizziness
  • Double vision
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Fainting
  • Dry mouth
  • Faintness
  • Fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
  • Fever with or without chills
  • Lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • Increased thirst
  • Itching
  • Joint pain
  • Light-colored stools
  • Swelling of the face, lips, eyelids, tongue, throat, feet, sex organs or legs
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood changes
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle pain or cramps
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Red, irritated eyes
  • Numbness in the lips, hands or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomach pain
  • Skin rash
  • Sores
  • Ulcers
  • White spots in your mouth (Including lips and tongue)
  • Stomach cramps
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Weakness or heaviness of the legs
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea
  • Wheezing
  • Yellow eyes and skin
  • Incidence not known
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Continuous vomiting
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Vomiting of blood
  • Swelling of the feet or lower legs
  • Unpleasant breath odor
  • General feeling of tiredness or weakness
  • Decreased appetite

Some of the side effects associated with taking telithromycin many not require any medical attention. These side effects should ease once your system adjusts to the drug. In addition, your doctor may provide you with tips on how to prevent or reduce the impact of these side effects. Speak with your physician if any of these side effects do not go away after some time.

Common side effects

  • Diarrhea
  • Less common side effects
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Belching
  • Acid or sour stomach
  • Change in sense of smell
  • Dry lips
  • Heartburn
  • White patches in the mouth and on the tongue
  • Bloated stomach
  • Burning sensation
  • Tingling feeling
  • Burning feeling in the stomach or chest
  • Change in color vaginal discharge
  • Disturbed attention span
  • Change in taste
  • Difficulty focusing the eyes
  • Excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
  • Difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
  • Frequent urination
  • Headache
  • Feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • Indigestion
  • Feeling of warmth
  • Redness of the face, arms, neck or chest
  • Increased amount of pale urine
  • Lack of strength
  • Itching of the vagina
  • Itching of outside genitals
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of sense of taste
  • Loose stools
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain around the cheekbones or eyes
  • Redness of the skin
  • Sensation of spinning
  • Sleeplessness
  • Passing gas more often than usual
  • Soreness of the tongue
  • Shakiness in the legs, hands or arms
  • Skin rash
  • Sore mouth or tongue
  • Sore throat
  • Swelling or puffiness of the face
  • Stomach upset or pain
  • Tenderness in the stomach area
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Thick vaginal discharge
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weight loss

Taking this medication may also cause you to develop pseudomembranous (intestine infection). Talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you have diarrhea symptoms that don't stop. You may also experience fever and stomach cramps if you contract the disease.This condition can be dangerous if you don't seek medical attention fast.


Telithromycin is available in the form of tablets and is taken orally or by mouth. Doctors recommend that you take 2 tablets (400 mg each) once per for seven to 10 days. You can take medication with food or without food. However, people suffering from serious kidney disease should take a reduced dose of 600 mg a day. The doctor may reduce the dose even further if a person suffers from both liver and kidney disease. It's highly likely that your doctor will conduct a few medical examinations to assess your overall medical condition before treatment can start.

It's recommended that you take this medication at the same period each day to avoid forgetting your dose. Follow the dosage instructions of the doctor carefully if you want this medication to be effective. The doctor or pharmacist should be able to answer any other questions you may have about this medication. This medication should be taken as prescribed, do not increase or reduce your dosage at any moment. Increasing or decreasing your dose without the permission of a doctor can have serious repercussions on your health.

Patients should swallow the tablets in their entirety instead of crushing, chewing or splitting them.If you take your drugs exactly as prescribed by the doctor, your condition should improve quickly. Contact your doctor fast if you aren't feeling any better after taking this medication. You must finish your prescription in order to feel better. If you stop taking this medication, your condition may worsen besides you may fail to fully recover from pneumonia.

In cases where you miss a dose, ensure that you take one immediately you remember. However, if you are nearing your next dose, just continue with your regular drug schedule. Never take two doses to pay for the missed dose.

In case of overdose, get in touch with your local poison intervention center quickly for help. Some common symptoms of overdose may include irregular heartbeat, fainting, and fast heartbeat. Such symptoms can be dangerous if they are not as fast as possible.

Do not share your medicine with any other person under any circumstances. This medication is prescribed to treat your condition only. Before any other person can take this medication, a doctor's prescription is required.

Ask your pharmacist or doctor to provide you with the printed information guide that's usually given free by the manufacturer. Read the information on the guide keenly to make sure you understand how to use this medication probably. Ask your physician or pharmacist for more information if you don't understand some of the fine print written in the guide.

Drug interactions:

Drug interactions can either alter how certain medicines work or cause serious unwanted effects. This article doesn't contain all possible drugs that may interact with telithromycin. As such, you must consult your doctor for more information about possible drug interactions that might occur. You must also keep a list of all the drugs (prescription and non-prescription) that you are currently using or plan to use. The doctor will assess your list and advice you on what to take and what to avoid. Here is a list of common drugs that may interact with telithromycin:

  • Acetylsalicylic Acid (aspirin)
  • Baricon (barium sulfate)
  • Augmentin (amoxicillin / clavulanate)
  • Dextran 40 (dextran, low molecular weight)
  • Dexamethasone Intensol (dexamethasone)
  • Epogen (epoetin alfa)
  • Dextran 70 6% in 0.9% Sodium Chloride (dextran, high molecular weight)
  • GlipiZIDE XL (glipizide)
  • Glycerol (glycerin)
  • Ginkgo Biloba (ginkgo)
  • Guanidine Hydrochloride (guanidine)
  • L-Arginine (arginine)
  • Morphine Sulfate IR (morphine)
  • Paracetamol (acetaminophen)
  • Iodides (sodium iodide)
  • Saccharomyces Boulardii+MOS (saccharomyces boulardii lyo)
  • Salonpas Pain Patch (methyl salicylate topical)
  • Penicillin G Procaine (procaine penicillin)
  • Vitamin K (phytonadione)
  • Vitamin K1 (phytonadione)
  • Telithromycin disease Interactions
  • Vitamin K1 (phytonadione)
  • Warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Pimozide (Orap)
  • Itraconazole (Sporanox)
  • Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
  • Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
  • Atorvastatin (Lipitor, in Caduet)
  • Lovastatin (Mevacor, in Advicor)
  • Simvastatin (Zocor, in Vytorin)
  • Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune
  • Digoxin (Lanoxin)
  • Diuretics ('water pills')
  • Cabergoline (Dostinex)
  • Ergoloid mesylates (Germinal, Hydergine)
  • Bromocriptine (Parlodel)
  • Ergonovine (Ergotrate)
  • Ergotamine (Cafergot, Ergomar, Wigraine)
  • Dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal)
  • Methylergonovine (Methergine),
  • Methysergide (Sansert)
  • Pergolide (Permax)
  • Amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone)
  • Dofetilide (Tikosyn)
  • Disopyramide (Norpace)
  • Procainamide (Procanbid)
  • Quinidine
  • Sotalol (Betapace)
  • Metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
  • Midazolam (Versed)
  • Phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton)
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • Repaglinide (Prandin)
  • Rifabutin (Mycobutin)
  • Rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane)
  • Sirolimus (Rapamune)
  • tacrolimus (Prograf)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)

Some medications may interact with certain foods. Your doctor may warn you not to take certain foods while getting treatment. No food has been found to interact with telithromycin.

Taking this medication if you have other diseases may cause certain problems. For example, this medication may become ineffective; cause serious side effects or worsen your overall health condition. Consult your doctor if you have other medical issues before you take telithromycin. Here are some of the diseases that are known to interact with this medication:

  • Hepatitis
  • Liver Disease
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Colitis
  • Renal Dysfunction
  • Qt Interval Prolongation
  • Hemodialysis

The bottom line is that you shouldn't take any type of medication including herbal supplements while using telithromycin. Only your doctor can give you permission to do so. It's however important to remember that in some cases, the doctor may be forced to prescribe medications that interact for your own good or benefit.


Stop taking this medication if you suffer from myasthenia gravis (a condition that causes muscle weakness).Patients with myasthenia gravis can suffer from life-threatening breathing problems if they take this drug. In some cases, such breathing problems can result in death.

Taking telithromycin can also cause liver damage. Your doctor should able to test and assess your condition before prescribing this medication. You should only use this medication if you are not at risk of suffering from liver damage or hepatotoxity. In some instances, liver damage may cause death or force one to have a transplant. If you have liver issues, don't take this medication unless your doctor gives you permission to do so.

Stop taking telithromycin and call your doctor right away if you have signs of liver problems. Do not take another dose of telithromycin unless your doctor tells you to.

Symptoms of liver problems may include:

  • Increased tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Itchy skin
  • Right upper belly pain
  • Dark colored urine (tea colored)
  • Yellowing of your skin or whites of your eyes
  • Light colored stools

Taking this medication may cause vision issues. You may experience signs such as blurred vision, double vision and troubles focusing on your eyes after you take this medication. Notify your doctor immediately if you experience vision problems. Your doctor may decide to alter your dose or stop you from using this medication altogether.

Taking this medication can lead to fainting, particularly if you have symptoms such as vomiting, nausea and lightheadedness.

Don't operate heavy machinery or drive while taking this medication, especially if you experience symptoms such as vision problems, confusion, fainting, seeing things that don't exist (visual hallucinations)

Stop taking this medication and inform your doctor immediately if you suffer from these symptoms: low blood pressure, fainting slow heartbeat. Telithromycin can cause the mentioned symptoms, particularly if you take certain drugs known as calcium channel blockers. Examples of calcium channel blockers include:

  • Verapamil (Calan)
  • Diltiazem (Cardizem)
  • Amlodipine (Norvasc)

Inform your doctor if you get or plan to get pregnant. There is no scientific evidence that points to telithromycin harming your unborn baby. But it's still important to consult your doctor if you are pregnant and using this medication.

Inform your physician if you are breastfeeding. It's not been established if this medication affects your breast milk. Consult your doctor in order to find out the best methods for feeding your child if you are taking this medication.


This medicine should be kept in a safe place where children cannot reach. Also, health professionals recommend that you store it at room temperature. Avoid storing this medication in places where there's too much moisture or heat like the bathroom. When disposing of this medication, ensure that it does not fall into the hands of children or pets. Also, it's not recommended to dispose of this medication in the toilet or drain. Instead, you should dispose of this medication using the nearest take-back initiative in your community. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for more ideas on how you can safely dispose of any unwanted medication you may have.


Telithromycin is a drug that is used for treating pneumonia or sinus infections caused by bacteria. This medication should not be used in any circumstance to treat common cold or influenza. Telithromycin belongs to a class of medications called ketolides. It basically stops the growth of bacteria by obstructing the synthesis of a bacterial protein. This medication is also used to treat sinus infections caused by bacteria.

Telithromycin comes in the form of tablets and is taken orally. The recommended dosage for adults is 800 mg (two tablets, 400 mg each) taken once per day. However, the doctor may reduce dose amounts, particularly in patients with liver or kidney diseases.

Taking this medication can cause a host of side effects. Some unwanted side effects may be common while others may be rare. Some of the side effects to expect from taking this medication include diarrhea, abnormal dreams, acid or sour stomach, belching, dry lips, change in sense of smell, heartburn, tingling feeling, white patches in the mouth and on the tongue, burning sensation and bloated stomach.

In addition, taking this medication together with other drugs can cause interactions. Some interactions may make side effects much worse or make this drug ineffective. Some of the common drugs that interact with telithromycin include acetylsalicylic Acid (aspirin), augmentin (amoxicillin / clavulanate), baricon (barium sulfate), dexamethasone Intensol (dexamethasone), Glycerol (glycerin), Morphine Sulfate IR (morphine), L-Arginine (arginine), Guanidine Hydrochloride (guanidine), Ginkgo Biloba (ginkgo), GlipiZIDE XL (glipizide), Dextran 40 (dextran, low molecular weight) and Dextran 70 6% in 0.9% Sodium Chloride (dextran, high molecular weight).

It's important to be warned about certain risks that may occur while using this medication. For instance, taking telithromycin may worsen myasthenia gravis symptoms and can lead to death if the situation isn't addressed urgently. Also, patients with liver disease should not take this medication because it can lead to liver damage. Consult your doctor for more information on how to safely use this medication.

Lastly this medication must be stored in safe spot, out of the reach of childen. If you want to dispose of this medication safely, use local take-back initiatives. Don't dispose of this medication by flushing it down your drain or toilet. You can search for more information online if you aren't sure of how to safely dispose of this medication.

Last Reviewed:
December 25, 2017
Last Updated:
April 05, 2018
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