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Molecule Description

Nitrofurantoin is an antibiotic which is commonly used to treat uncomplicated u

rinary tract infections in children and adults.


Uses of Nitrofurantoin

Nitrofurantoin is used for treatment, prevention and long-term suppression of uncomplicated urinary tract infections.

Contraindications of Nitrofurantoin

When should one not use Nitrofurantoin

  • Allergy to Nitrofurantoin, other medicines containing Nitrofurantoin or any of the other ingredients of this medicine
  • Kidney disease (moderate to severe)
  • A blood disorder in which there is over-accumulation of blood forming proteins (porphyria)
  • A blood disorder that causes break-down of red blood cells (G6PD - Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase deficiency)
  • Infants under three months of age

Side effects of Nitrofurantoin

Common side effects of this drug are:

  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Stomach pain, reduced hunger, loose stools
  • Feeling dizzy, drowsiness
  • Damage to red blood cells – easy bruising, delayed clotting, low blood counts, fever, sore throat
  • Nervous system disorders – changes of mood, confusion, weakness, blurred vision
  • Skin rashes, reddened skin (due to damage of small blood vessels), blisters with or without rapid heart rate
  • Pain in the face, stomach and joints (due to reactive salivary glands, pancreas)
  • Liver and kidney disorders
  • Urinary tract infections (by bacteria that are not killed by Nitrofurantoin)
  • Loss of hair
  • Collapse/ loss of consciousness, lung problems – fever, chills, cough, fast breathing

Precautions and Warnings of Nitrofurantoin



Can I take Nitrofurantoin during pregnancy?
Nitrofurantoin is not known to harm the unborn baby but may harm the newborn. That is why it is not recommended during labor, delivery and for infants who are less than three months old. If you want to use Nitrofurantoin during first 6 months of your pregnancy, a lower dose than usual is recommended if no other alternatives are available.

Breast Feeding

Can I take Nitrofurantoin while breastfeeding?
Nitrofurantoin can be used while you are breastfeeding if your baby is more than three months and does not have any blood cell disorders.


Can I drive if I have consumed Nitrofurantoin?
Nitrofurantoin may cause dizziness, drowsiness or decrease alertness and hence caution is advised. You may avoid driving if any such symptoms are present.


Can I consume alcohol with Nitrofurantoin?
Nitrofurantoin does not interact with alcohol but you are advised to limit your alcohol intake because it may complicate a urinary infection.

Other General Warnings

Talk to your doctor if
  • You have diabetes
  • You have low red blood count or Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • You have any disease that may cause severe weakness
  • You have any diseases of the lungs or the nervous system
  • You have a history of allergic reactions
  • You pass dark coloured urine
  • You experience any symptoms of liver disease - fatigue, yellow eyes (jaundice), joint pains, stomach discomfort, vomiting, reduced hunger and pale/ grey coloured stools

Mode of Action of Nitrofurantoin

How Does It Work?

Nitrofurantoin kills the bacteria by entering their cells and damaging their genetic material (DNA) in the urinary bladder, kidney and other parts of the urinary tract.

Interactions of Nitrofurantoin

Interactions with other medicines

  • Medicines used for indigestion (antacids – Magnesium Trisilicate, etc.)
  • Medicines used for gout (Probenecid, Sufinpyrazone, etc.)
  • Medicines used to treat raised pressure in the eyes (glaucoma-Acetazolamide, etc.)
  • Medicines used to reduce acidity of urine (Potassium Citrate)
  • Medicines used to treat certain infections (Quinolones-Ciprofloxacin, Norfloxacin, etc.)
  • Typhoid vaccine

Interactions with food items

Nitrofurantoin must be taken with food – meals or milk. This will cause the medicine to be better absorbed and reduces side effects.

Dietary Restrictions of Nitrofurantoin

No information is available on dietary restrictions while you are taking this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist for further information.

Dosage of Nitrofurantoin


Accidental overdose of Nitrofurantoin may irritate the stomach, nausea or vomiting. Medical attention may be necessary in case of high overdose. Inform your doctor if you experience any new symptoms.

Missed a Dose

It depends on your condition and dosage. In some situations, Nitrofurantoin may be prescribed once a day and in some others, 2-4 times a day. Check the time interval specified by your doctor between 2...
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Content Details


Dr. Nikita Toshi

BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery)


Dr. Ritu Budania

MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: Is there anything else I need to know before taking Nitrofurantoin?

  • Nitrofurantoin will cause brown or rust coloured urine. This is not a sign to worry and your urine colour will return to normal after stopping the medicine
  • In some patients, Nitrofurantoin can cause loose motions which may be severe. In such cases, do not self-medicate and inform your doctor

Q: Does the medication of Nitrofurantoin raise my blood sugars?

A: Nitrofurantoin does not cause the blood sugar to rise but if specific methods test your urine, they will show elevated sugars. This is known as a false-positive result due to a chemical reaction and not due to elevation of sugars.
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)

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