Drug Interactions

Clarithromycin can potentially interact with several other medications (see Drug Interactions With Clarithromycin).

What If I Take an Overdose of Clarithromycin?

People who take an overdose may experience effects such as:
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea.
If you happen to take too much, seek immediate medical attention.
(Click Biaxin Overdose for more information.)

What Should I Do If I Miss a Dose?

If you do not take your clarithromycin as scheduled, take your missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule. Do not take a double dose of the medication. Try not to miss doses, as this increases the risk of developing an antibiotic-resistant infection.

How Does It Work?

Clarithromycin belongs to a group of medications known as macrolides. It works by binding to bacterial ribosomes, which are protein "factories" inside bacteria. By binding to these ribosomes, the medication interferes with the production of proteins, inhibiting bacterial growth and multiplication.

When and How to Take Clarithromycin

Some general considerations for those taking clarithromycin include the following:
  • The medication comes as regular (immediate-release) tablets, extended-release tablets, and an oral suspension.
  • The regular tablets and oral suspension are usually taken twice a day (sometimes three times a day for certain infections). The extended-release form is taken just once a day.
  • Make sure to shake the oral suspension well before each dose.
  • You can the tablets or oral suspension with food or on an empty stomach. However, the extended-release tablets must be taken with food, as they may not work as well if you take them on an empty stomach.
  • Clarithromycin can be taken at any time of the day; however, make sure to take the medication at the same time(s) each day: every 12 hours (if you take it twice daily) or every 24 hours (if you take it once daily).
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Clarithromycin will not work if you stop taking it too soon.
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