Why is it prescribed?
Biaxin® suspension contains clarithromycin.
Clarithromycin is used to treat infections caused by susceptible bacteria. This material will be limited to infections of the respiratory tract (e.g. pneumonia, tonsilitis, sinuses, sore throat) and the middle ear.
Biaxin® suspension contains clarithromycin.
Along with its needed effects, clarithromycin may cause some unwanted or undesirable effects.
Generally, clarithromycin is well tolerated and many people will not experience unwanted effects. The frequency and severity of these effects is dependant on many factors including dose, duration of therapy and individual susceptibility. Possible unwanted effects include:
- abnormal taste
- stomach discomfort
- allergy (e.g. hives, itching, rash, difficulty breathing)
- diaper rash
- oral candidiasis (thrush)
- jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes)
- difficulty breathing
Precautions and Warnings for Biaxin® suspension
Biaxin® suspension contains clarithromycin
Allergic reactions can occur with clarithromycin use. The reaction can be immediate and severe. Allergic symptoms include wheezing, hives, itching, swelling, spasms in the throat and breathing tubes, joint and muscle pain, difficulty breathing, fever and skin rashes. Nausea and vomiting are not symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Taking the antibiotic repeatedly or for prolonged periods may result in bacterial or fungal overgrowth which can lead to a second infection. When this occurs, the clarithromycin may need to be stopped and another antibiotic prescribed to treat the new infection.
Diarrhea often develops while taking clarithromycin. This is sometimes caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the gut that are not killed by the antibiotic. In severe cases, this may be life threatening and would require treatment with other antibiotics. In mild cases, symptoms disappear shortly after the drug is discontinued.
Drug Interactions: It is important to tell your doctor and pharmacist of any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking. In some cases, the dose of one or both drugs may need to be altered or another drug may be prescribed. Interactions have been known to occur with the following drugs and drug classes.
- anticoagulants (e.g. Coumadin®)
- carbamazepine (e.g. Tegretol®)
- cyclosporine (e.g. Neoral®)
- digoxin (e.g. Lanoxin®)
- disopyramide (e.g. Norpace®)
- ergot-containing drugs (e.g. Ergomar®)
- fluconazole (e.g. Diflucan®)
- pimozide (e.g. Orap®)
- zidovudine (e.g. Retrovir®)
- theophylline (e.g. Theo-Dur®)
- triazolam (e.g. Halcion®)
- phenytoin (e.g. Dilantin®)
- cholesterol reducing medications such as atorvastatin (e.g. Lipitor®), lovastatin (e.g. Mevacor®)
Use is not recommended in the following situations:
- allergy to clarithromycin, erythromycin or any of the macrolide antibiotics
- concurrent therapy with pimozide (e.g. Orap®)
Caution is recommended in the following situations:
Use in pregnancy: Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you suspect that you may be pregnant. Use while breastfeeding: Clarithromycin passes into the breast-milk. Consult your doctor or pharmacist before you begin breastfeeding.
Use exactly as prescribed.
Biaxin® suspension must be shaken well before each use. Do not refrigerate. Store the suspension at room temperature (15 to 30 degrees centigrade). The suspension expires after 14 days. It is unacceptable to dilute the medication in large volumes of liquid that will not be consumed immediately (e.g. baby's bottle). If you are having difficulty giving a child the medication, ask your pharmacist for suggestions.
To measure the prescribed dose, it is important that you have an appropriate measuring device. Ask your pharmacist to help you select the best one if you do not already have one.
Take/give Biaxin® at even intervals around the clock as prescribed (e.g. every 12 hours translates to twice a day) until finished. Failure to take the complete course can result in incomplete elimination of the bacteria which can lead to a relapse of the infection. The prescribed course generally lasts a few days longer than symptoms of the infection (e.g. fever). Treatment usually lasts 5 to 10 days. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, do not take 2 doses at once (unless you have been instructed to do so). Contact your pharmacist if you are not sure what to do.
Biaxin® may produce an allergic reaction which can range in severity from a mild rash or itching to a life-threatening reaction. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you experience rash, itching, fever, difficulty breathing, chest tightness or anything else that alarms you.
It is not unusual to experience the more common, unwanted effects with Biaxin® (e.g. nausea, diarrhea, etc.). Contact your doctor or pharmacist if they are severe, persist or become bothersome.
Directions for Use
The dose will depend on the type and severity of the infection. The usual adult dose for respiratory tract infections is 250 to 500 mg every 12 hours. The dose range in children is 15 mg per kg body weight daily in two equally divided doses (every 12 hours).
Lung Diseases Treated with this Drug
- middle ear infections
- respiratory tract infections
- sinus infections
- sore throat
- upper respiratory tract infections
Need More Information?
For more information contact your physician, pharmacist, other health care professional or for general questions call your local lung association.