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Why is this medication prescribed?
Nitrofurantoin is used to treat urinary tract infections. Nitrofurantoin is in a class of medications called antibiotics. It works by killing bacteria that cause infection.
Antibiotics such as nitrofurantoin will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections. Using antibiotics when they are not needed increases your risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment.
How should this medicine be used?
Nitrofurantoin comes as a capsule and a suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. Nitrofurantoin usually is taken with food two or four times a day for at least 7 days. Try to take nitrofurantoin at the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take nitrofurantoin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Shake the liquid well before each use to mix the medication evenly. Use a dose-measuring spoon or cup to measure the correct amount of liquid for each dose; not a household spoon.
You should begin to feel better during your first few days of treatment with nitrofurantoin. If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, call your doctor.
Take nitrofurantoin until you finish the prescription, even if you feel better. If you stop taking nitrofurantoin too soon or if you skip doses, your infection may be more difficult to treat and the bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking nitrofurantoin,
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to nitrofurantoin, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in nitrofurantoin capsules or suspension (liquid). Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: antacids that contain magnesium, ciprofloxacin (Cipro), delafloxacin (Baxdela), levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin, and probenecid (Probalan, in Col-Probenecid). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- Tell your doctor if you have ever had kidney disease or if you have ever had jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes) or other liver problems while taking nitrofurantoin. Your doctor will probably tell you not to take nitrofurantoin.
- Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had anemia, diabetes, lung problems, nerve damage, an electrolyte imbalance in your blood, low levels of vitamin B in your body, or glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PD) deficiency (an inherited blood disease).
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking nitrofurantoin, call your doctor. Nitrofurantoin may cause problems in newborns following delivery if it is taken during the last month of pregnancy. Nitrofurantoin should not be taken by women in the last month of pregnancy.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take any remaining doses for that day at evenly spaced intervals. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Nitrofurantoin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- Loss of appetite
- Heartburn or gas
- Hair loss
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, lips, tongue, or throat
- Fever or chills
- Chest pain
- Persistent cough
- Numbness, tingling, or pinprick sensation in the fingers and toes
- Muscle weakness
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, loss of appetite, fatigue, or pain or discomfort in right upper stomach area
- Severe diarrhea (watery or bloody stools) that may occur with or without fever and stomach cramps (may occur up to 2 months or more after your treatment)
- Eye pain or vision changes
Nitrofurantoin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to nitrofurantoin.
If you have diabetes and your doctor has told you to test your urine for glucose (sugar), tell the doctor that you are taking nitrofurantoin. Nitrofurantoin can cause false results on urine tests for glucose.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish the nitrofurantoin, call your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.