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What does it do?

Clarithromycin is used to treat and prevent bacterial infections.

How should you take it?

Take clarithromycin regularly as directed. Keep taking it until the course is finished, even if you start to feel better.
Take the tablets with a glass of water.
Measure the liquid carefully with an oral syringe or measuring spoon. Shake the bottle well before measuring each dose.

What if you forget a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as possible and continue as directed.

Can you take other medicines?

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products (e.g. St John's wort) or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Fast or irregular heartbeat, fainting

Symptoms of liver problems including: yellow skin or eyes, itching, dark urine, pale bowel motions, abdominal pain

Tell your doctor immediately

Severe or persistent diarrhoea, abdominal pain

Hearing loss, ringing in the ears

Small white sores in mouth, furry tongue (oral thrush)

Vaginal itch or discharge (vaginal thrush)

Tell your doctor

Diarrhoea

Changes in taste

Headache

Tell your doctor if troublesome

Stomach upset

Take with food

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have heart, kidney, liver or gut problems, a chronic muscle condition (e.g. myasthenia gravis), or porphyria.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Your doctor may do a heart test (ECG) before you start and while you are taking clarithromycin.
  • Store clarithromycin liquid as directed. Once the course is finished, take any leftover liquid back to your pharmacy.

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the PILs Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand. January 2018

For more general information about this sheet and its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

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About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at the Canterbury District Health Board. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed