Biaxin (Clarithromycin)

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Clarithromycin (Biaxin) is an antibiotic used to treat a variety of bacterial infections affecting the skin and respiratory system. It is also used together with other medicines to treat stomach ulcers caused by H pylori.

How should it be used?

  • Take this medicine by mouth with or without food.
  • Swallow the tablets whole, do not break, chew, or crush.
  • Follow the directions on the prescription label.
  • Take at regular intervals and do not take more than is directed.
  • Take Biaxin for the full prescribed length of time. Biaxin is usually given for 7 to 14 days (or longer when treating stomach ulcer). Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared.
  • Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics.

Special Precautions/Instructions

  • Tell your doctor all medicines you use including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal products because many may interact with Biaxin.
  • Tell your doctor if you have any of these conditions:
    • Liver or kidney disease
    • Bowel disease like colitis
    • Irregular heartbeat or heart disease
    • Pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
    • Unusual or allergic reaction to clarithromycin, or macrolide antibiotics, other medicines, foods, dyes or preservatives.

Side effects

Contact your doctor immediately if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Biaxin:

  • Hives
  • Difficult breathing
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • Uneven heartbeats, chest pain, shortness of breath;
  • Diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
  • Problems with your hearing; or
  • Severe skin reaction-fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling.

Biaxin may also cause severe liver symptoms. Stop taking Biaxin and call your doctor at once if you have any of these liver symptoms:

  • Low fever, itching;
  • Nausea, upper stomach pain, loss of appetite;
  • Dark urine, clay colored stools; or
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

Less serious side effects:

  • Upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • Unusual or unpleasant taste in your mouth;
  • Tooth discoloration;
  • Headache;
  • Mild itching or rash; or
  • Vaginal itching or discharge.