The antibiotic Clarithromycin can be used to treat a skin infection if you are allergic to penicillins. Before you start treatment always read the manufacturers leaflet contained with the medication, which contains more information and the potential side effects.
The dose is to be taken twice a day; it is important that you space out the doses evenly during the day. Swallow the tablet with water, and you can take Clarithromycin either before or after your meals.
Keep taking Clarithromycin until the full course is finished (unless a doctor tells you to stop), even if you feel that the infection has cleared up. This is to stop the infection from coming back. If you forget to take a dose, take one as soon as you remember unless it's nearly time for your next dose. In this case, just leave out the missed dose and take your next dose as normal.
Never give your medication to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Possible side effects from clarithromycin
Most types of medicines can cause potential side effects. However, not everyone will experience them. The side effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but if any of them continue or become troublesome then contact us, or speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
The most common ones (occur in about 1 in 10 people) for Clarithromycin include:
- feeling sick (nausea) or vomiting
- redness and itching in the mouth or vagina (thrush)
- tooth or tongue discolouration, and changes in the way things taste or smell. This will settle once you finish treatment.
- a headache
Who should not take clarithromycin
It is important that you tell your doctor in your assessment of all the medical conditions you have, and all the medications you take. Failure to do so can lead to problems with any treatment you are prescribed. Always read the patient leaflet before you take any medication.
The following groups of people should not take Clarithromycin:
- those allergic to clarithromycin or macrolide antibiotics
- those with QT prolongation or ventricular cardiac arrhythmia, including torsades de pointe
- those with heart disease
- those with hypokalaemia (low potassium)
- those with problems with the way your liver works
- pregnant women or if breastfeeding
The following medications can interact with Clarithromycin:
- Statin for lowering cholesterol: you should stop your statin while you are taking Clarithromycin.
- Colchicine used for gout: clarithromycin should not be taken if you are also taking colchicine.
- Warfarin: Clarithromycin can increase the bleeding risk
- Ergotamine or dihydroergotamine used for migraines: Clarithromycin must not be taken with them
- Sildenafil, tadalafil or vardenafil: Clarithromycin can increase the levels of the erectile dysfunction (ED) medication in the body. Consider reducing the dose of the ED medication while taking Clarithromycin.