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Nitrofurantoin is an antibiotic that is primarily used to treat bacterial infections in the bladder and urinary tract.

Learn About:

How to take - Side Effects - Dosage - Things To Avoid - Pregnancy

If you have a health issue in this area, speak to one of our doctors about your symptoms. If nitrofurantoin is the appropriate treatment, they can write you a prescription that you can collect from a pharmacy of your choice.


How To Take Nitrofurantoin

Nitrofurantoin can come in a tablet or liquid format and will still be just as effective if taken with food.

If you’re given liquid medication, ensure you shake the bottle well before use. You can mix this with water or fruit juice if you find this makes it easier to take.

What Does Nitrofurantoin Treat?

Nitrofurantoin is used exclusively to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) and infections in the bladder, such as cystitis.

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What Are The Side Effects of Nitrofurantoin?

When using nitrofurantoin, you might notice mild side effects, such as a headache, dizzy spells, wind and stomach ache. Like many antibiotics, it may also cause digestive issues.

This is usually short term and nothing to worry about, but you should tell a doctor if your diarrhoea becomes very watery or has blood in it, as this could be the sign of a further infection.

Another potential side effect is that your urine might contain a higher concentration of glucose than normal. This won’t affect you unless you’re tested for any other health problems during your treatment. If this happens, make sure the doctor knows you’re taking nitrofurantoin.

There are some serious side effects that some people experience when taking nitrofurantoin. Talk to a doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • A bad cough
  • Numb extremities
  • A high fever
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Joint pain
  • Swollen glands
  • Skin colour changes

In very rare cases, nitrofurantoin can cause an allergic reaction. You need to call for emergency medical assistance if you are having trouble breathing, or if your face, lips and throat become swollen.

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Nitrofurantoin Dosage

Your doctor will tell you how long you need to take nitrofurantoin for and how much to take per dose. You should follow their instructions and not skip doses. If you do, it could allow the bacteria to build up a resistance against the drug and make it less effective.

Of course, accidents happen, so if you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you realise unless it’s almost time for your next dose. Don’t take two doses to compensate for the missed one.

You should keep taking the medicine for as long as your doctor tells you to. Even if you feel better, the nitrofurantoin could still be killing off the last of the bacteria in your system. To be fully effective, you may be told to continue taking your medication for up to three days after the infection clears.

Things To Avoid

There are some circumstances where it would be unsafe to take nitrofurantoin. Your doctor needs to know if any of the following applies to you:

  • Kidney disease
  • Jaundice
  • Liver problems
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Anaemia
  • Diabetes
  • Vitamin B deficiency

You should also mention any medication you’re currently taking, so that your doctor can assess whether they would be a suitable combination with nitrofurantoin.

Taking antacids while you’re on the nitrofurantoin is not recommended, as this makes it harder for your system to absorb the drug.

Can You Drink Alcohol When You’re On Nitrofurantoin?

While nitrofurantoin does not react as badly with alcohol as many other antibiotics, it’s still not advisable to drink alcohol when you’re unwell.

This can make any medication potentially less effective, as well as leaving you dehydrated. If you do choose to drink during your treatment, you should only do so in moderation.

Is It Safe To Take Nitrofurantoin During Pregnancy?

You mustn’t take nitrofurantoin during the last month of your pregnancy, as this carries an increased risk of anaemia.

For the rest of your term, the evidence of the effect on the baby is inconclusive. For that reason, pregnant mothers should avoid nitrofurantoin unless there are no other options available.

The drug can also affect breast milk, but is thought to be low risk for infants over a month old. If your baby is younger than this, you should either stop breastfeeding them during treatment, or speak to your doctor about a different drug.

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Talk to a doctor Today

If you have a bladder infection or UTI and want to know which medication stands the best chance of treating it, speak to our doctors today. They’ll go through your symptoms and medical history with you, discuss any other medication you’re taking and make a recommendation regarding the suitability of nitrofurantoin for your condition.

If needed, they can provide you with a prescription that you can pick up from your nearest pharmacy whenever it’s convenient for you.

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