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Molecule Description

Clarithromycin is a ‘macrolide antibiotic,’ commonly used for the treatment of

bacterial infections of throat, lungs, skin, soft tissues(fat, muscle, ligaments, etc.), and stomach ulcers.


Uses of Clarithromycin

  • Clarithromycin is helpful in the treatment of various bacterial infections
  • Throat and sinus infections (bacterial pharyngitis and sinusistis)
  • Collection of fluid or pus in the lungs (pneumonia)
  • Worsening of infection of the airways (acute exacerbation of bronchitis)
  • Mild to moderate skin and soft tissue infections (soft tissues include fat, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, etc.)
  • Ulcers of the stomach and intestine (commonly caused by Helicobacter Pylori bacteria)

Contraindications of Clarithromycin

When should one not use Clarithromycin

  • Allergy to Clarithromycin or any ingredients of the medicine or any similar medicines of the same group (Erythromycin, Roxithromycin, Telithromycin, etc.)
  • If you have any heart, kidney or liver problem
  • Low levels of potassium in the blood
  • Certain medicines used to treat – migraine, high cholesterol (Simvastatin, Lovastatin), gout (Colchicine), to prevent heart attacks or brain stroke (Ticagrelor, Ranolazine)

Side effects of Clarithromycin

Common side effects of this drug are:

  • Sleeping problems, headache
  • Stomach pain, vomiting, feeling sick (nausea), loose motions, indigestion
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Taste disturbances, excessive sweating
  • Skin rashes
  • Decreased hunger, anxiety, dizziness, spinning of the head
  • Hearing problems, gas in the stomach, constipation
  • Rashes, itching, dry mouth, weakness, chest pain
  • Severe allergic skin reactions causing swelling of the face, lips, throat, difficulty in breathing

Precautions and Warnings of Clarithromycin



Can I take Clarithromycin during pregnancy?
Not enough data is available about the safety of this medicine during pregnancy. Hence do not use this medicine during pregnancy.

Breast Feeding

Can I take Clarithromycin while breastfeeding?
Clarithromycin secretes in breast milk, but its effect on the baby is not known. Hence it is recommended to avoid this medicine while breastfeeding.


Can I drive if I have consumed Clarithromycin?
Clarithromycin is not known to affect your driving ability, but exert caution in the presence of side effects such as drowsiness, spinning of head, confusion, etc.


Can I consume alcohol with Clarithromycin?
Alcohol does not interact with Clarithromycin, but it should be remembered that alcohol delays healing of infections.

Other General Warnings

Talk to your doctor if
  • Kidney, liver or heart problems
  • Low blood magnesium levels
  • Previous use of Clarithromycin on several occasions
  • Hearing problems
  • Discontinue the medicine if you develop any allergic skin reactions
  • If you develop loose motions after using Clarithromycin that persist, inform your doctor immediately

Mode of Action of Clarithromycin

How Does It Work?

Clarithromycin prevents the formation of proteins that are required for survival, growth, and multiplication of bacteria and thus controls the infection.

Interactions of Clarithromycin

Interactions with other medicines

  • Migraine (Ergotamine, Dihydroergotamine)
  • High cholesterol levels in the blood (Simvastatin, Lovastatin)
  • Gout (Colchicine)
  • Medicines that prevent heart attacks or brain stroke (Ticagrelor, Ranolazine)
  • Use with caution:
  • Anti-anxiety medications (Alprazolam, Triazolam, Midazolam)
  • Anti-allergic medicines (Astemizole, Terfenadine)
  • Blood thinning agents (Warfarin)
  • Diabetic medicines (Nateglinide, Repaglinide, Insulin)
  • Anti-seizure medications (Carbamazepine, Valproate, Phenytoin)
  • Immunosuppressants (Cyclosporine, Sirolimus, Tacrolimus, Methylprednisolone)
  • Medicines used to treat heart rhythm problems (Digoxin, Verapamil, Quinidine, Disopyramide)
  • Omeprazole (to reduce stomach acidity), Rifabutin (treats TB), medicines to treat erectile dysfunction (Sildenafil, Tadalafil, Vardenafil), Theophylline (treats asthma), Tolterodine (treats
  • overactive bladder), Vinblastine (anti-cancer), medicines that can affect hearing (Gentamicin, Amikacin, Tobramycin), medicines that treat psychosis (Quetiapine. etc.)

Interactions with food items

Clarithromycin can be taken before or after meals, with a glass of water.

Dietary Restrictions of Clarithromycin

Avoid Clarithromycin with Tyramine - rich foods such as cheese, smoked fish, meats, etc.

Dosage of Clarithromycin


Unintentional overdose of Clarithromycin may not be harmful. But high overdose can cause symptoms such as altered mental status, behavioral changes, low potassium levels, etc., which require medical a...
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Missed a Dose

Take the missed dose as early as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is too late. Remember the time interval between two dosages prescribed by your doctor and allow at least 6-8 hours between suc...
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: What else should I know before taking Clarithromycin?

A: Do not take Clarithromycin for long periods. For most infections, it is usually given for 1-2 weeks. Continue using the medicine for at least two days after you feel better or relieved of symptoms. Do not stop this medicine without the notice of your doctor. Clarithromycin works only for bacterial infections. Cold, cough, running nose, and lung problems can also be caused by viruses, and this medicine should not be used in these patients. Inappropriate usage may lead to unwanted effects. Hence it is advised not to self-medicate and use Clarithromycin only under medical supervision. Clarithromycin is a potent medicine and gives good results in most of the cases.

Q: Is Clarithromycin a useful option for stomach ulcers?

A: Yes. But it should be used in combination with other medicines. In stomach ulcer conditions, Clarithromycin is used along with other medicines, usually as a triple- medicine therapy, for 10-14 days, this is because Clarithromycin has excellent activity against the common bacteria involved in stomach ulcers – Helicobacter Pylori.
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)
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