Health Guide
Drug Guide

Nitrofurantoin (Oral route)

Pronunciation:

nye-troe-fure-AN-toyn

Brand Names:

Dosage Forms:

Classifications:

Therapeutic

Antibiotic

Chemical

Nitrofuran

Uses of This Medicine:

Nitrofurantoin is used to treat urinary tract infections. This medicine is an antibiotic. It works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth. However, this medicine will not work for colds, flu, or other virus infections.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using This Medicine:

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Children

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of nitrofurantoin in children. Safety and efficacy have not been established in infants below 1 month of age.

Older adults

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of nitrofurantoin in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related heart, liver, lung, or kidney problems, which may require caution in patients receiving nitrofurantoin.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy CategoryExplanation
All TrimestersBAnimal studies have revealed no evidence of harm to the fetus, however, there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR animal studies have shown an adverse effect, but adequate studies in pregnant women have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus.

Breast-feeding

Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.

Other medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Other interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other medical problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

Proper Use of This Medicine:

Take this medicine only as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered.

Nitrofurantoin is best taken with food or milk. This may lessen stomach upset and help your body to absorb the medicine.

To help clear up your infection completely, keep taking this medicine for the full time of treatment, even if you begin to feel better after a few days. Do not miss any doses.

Shake the oral liquid forcefully before each dose to make sure the medicine is evenly mixed. Use a specially marked measuring spoon or other device to measure each dose accurately. The average household teaspoon may not hold the right amount of liquid.

Swallow the capsule whole. Do not open, crush, or chew the capsule before swallowing it.

Do not take antacids containing magnesium trisilicate (e.g., Genaton®) while you are using nitrofurantoin. It may prevent the medicine from working properly.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Precautions While Using This Medicine:

If you or your child will be taking this medicine for a long time, it is very important that your doctor check you at regular visits for any problems or unwanted effects that may be caused by this medicine.

If you or your child's symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

Diabetic patients that use urine sugar tests should be careful when using this medicine. Nitrofurantoin may cause false test results with some urine sugar tests. Check with your doctor before changing your diet or the dose of your diabetes medicine.

Liver problems may occur while you are using this medicine. Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you are having more than one of these symptoms: stomach pain or tenderness; clay-colored stools; dark urine; decreased appetite; fever; headache; itching; loss of appetite; nausea and vomiting; skin rash; swelling of the feet or lower legs; unusual tiredness or weakness; or yellow eyes or skin.

Tell your doctor right away if you start having numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet. These may be symptoms of a condition called peripheral neuropathy.

Nitrofurantoin may cause diarrhea, and in some cases it can be severe. Do not take any medicine to treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor. Diarrhea medicines may make the diarrhea worse or make it last longer. If you have any questions about this, or if mild diarrhea continues or gets worse, check with your doctor.

This medicine may cause the urine to become a rust-yellow to brown color. This side effect does not require medical attention.

Side Effects of This Medicine:

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common
Changes in facial skin color
chest pain
chills
cough
fever
general feeling of discomfort or illness
hives
hoarseness
itching
joint or muscle pain
shortness of breath
skin rash
sudden trouble in swallowing or breathing
swelling of the face, mouth, hands, or feet
troubled breathing
Less common
Black, tarry stools
blood in the urine or stools
burning, numbness, tingling, or painful sensations
dizziness
drowsiness
headache
pinpoint red spots on the skin
sore throat
unsteadiness or awkwardness
unusual bleeding or bruising
unusual tiredness or weakness
weakness in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
Rare
Abdominal or stomach pain
blindness
blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin and mucous membranes
blue-yellow color blindness
bluish color of the fingernails, lips, skin, palms, or nail beds
blurred vision or loss of vision, with or without eye pain
bulging soft spot on the head of an infant
change in the ability to see colors, especially blue or yellow
confusion
cracks in the skin
darkening of the urine
decreased vision
diarrhea
diarrhea, watery and severe, which may also be bloody
eye pain
general tiredness and weakness
light-colored stools
loss of appetite
loss of heat from the body
mental depression
mood or mental changes
nausea or vomiting
pale skin
pale stools
red skin lesions, often with a purple center
red, irritated eyes
red, swollen skin
red, thickened, or scaly skin
skin rash
sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
swollen or painful glands
tenderness of salivary glands
unpleasant breath odor
upper right abdominal pain
visual changes
vomiting of blood
wheezing or tightness in the chest
yellow eyes or skin

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
Diarrhea
gas
Incidence not known
Dizziness or lightheadedness
feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
lack or loss of strength
loss of hair, temporary
sensation of spinning
uncontrolled eye movements

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Last Updated: 10/12/2016

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