Biaxin (clarithromycin) is a macrolide antibiotic. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria. This antibiotic treats only bacterial infections. It will not work for viral infections (such as common cold, flu). Unnecessary use or misuse of any antibiotic can lead to its decreased effectiveness.
Biaxin is used to treat many different types of bacterial infections affecting the skin and respiratory system. Biaxin is also used together with other medicines to treat stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori.
Biaxin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use Biaxin if you are allergic to clarithromycin or similar antibiotics (azithromycin, erythromycin, telithromycin).
To make sure Biaxin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- liver disease;
- kidney disease;
- a heart rhythm disorder;
- long QT syndrome; or
- low levels of potassium in your blood.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Clarithromycin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
Biaxin is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
How should I take Biaxin?
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose.
Take Biaxin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Shake the oral suspension (liquid) before you measure a dose. To be sure you get the correct dose, measure the liquid with a marked measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
You may take Biaxin with or without food. Take the medicine at the same time each day.
To treat stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori infection, take this medicine together with other medications prescribed by your doctor.
Do not take antacids within 2 hours before or after you take Biaxin. Some antacids can make it harder for your body to absorb clarithromycin.
Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. 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.
Biaxin will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.
Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while using this medicine.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking Biaxin?
Avoid taking an antacid within 2 hours before or after you take Biaxin. Some antacids can make it harder for your body to absorb clarithromycin.
Biaxin side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- severe stomach pain, diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
- pale or yellowed skin, dark colored urine, fever, confusion or weakness;
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
- fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;
- easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;
- severe tingling, numbness, pain, muscle weakness;
- a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
- slow heart rate, weak pulse, fainting, slow breathing (breathing may stop);
- upper stomach pain (that may spread to your back), nausea or vomiting, fast heart rate; or
- joint pain or a skin rash.
Common Biaxin side effects may include:
- mild stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
- vaginal itching or discharge;
- rash; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Biaxin dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Pneumonia:
- Immediate-release tablets, suspension, and extended-release tablets:
500 mg orally every 12 hours for 7 to 14 days
- Alternative dosing regimen:
1000 mg orally as a single dose on Day 1, followed by 500 mg
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