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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Biaxin, Biaxin XL, Biaxin XL-Pak

Generic Name: clarithromycin (Pronunciation: kla RITH roe MYE sin)

What is clarithromycin (Biaxin, Biaxin XL, Biaxin XL-Pak)?

Clarithromycin is a macrolide antibiotic. Clarithromycin fights bacteria in your body.

Clarithromycin is used to treat many different types of bacterial infections affecting the skin and respiratory system. Clarithromycin is also used together with other medicines to treat stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori.

Clarithromycin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Biaxin 250 mg

oblong, yellow, imprinted with A KT

Biaxin 500 mg

oblong, yellow, imprinted with a KL

Biaxin XL 500 mg

oval, yellow, imprinted with aKJ

Clarithromycin 250 mg-ROX

round, white, imprinted with 54 271

Clarithromycin 250 mg-TEV

oval, yellow, imprinted with 7157, 93

Clarithromycin 500 mg ER-TEV

oval, yellow, imprinted with 93, 7244

Clarithromycin 500 mg-TEV

oval, yellow, imprinted with 7158, 93

Clarithromycin ER 500 mg-AND

oblong, orange, imprinted with Logo 777

What are the possible side effects of clarithromycin (Biaxin, Biaxin XL, Biaxin XL-Pak)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • uneven heartbeats, chest pain, shortness of breath;
  • diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
  • problems with your hearing; or
  • severe skin reaction -- fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Clarithromycin may also cause severe liver symptoms. Stop taking clarithromycin and call your doctor at once if you have any of these liver symptoms:

  • low fever, itching;
  • nausea, upper stomach pain, loss of appetite;
  • dark urine, clay colored stools; or
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • unusual or unpleasant taste in your mouth;
  • tooth discoloration;
  • headache;
  • mild itching or rash; or
  • vaginal itching or discharge.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about clarithromycin (Biaxin, Biaxin XL, Biaxin XL-Pak)?

You should not use this medicine if you have ever had jaundice or liver problems caused by taking clarithromycin, or if you have liver or kidney disease and are also taking colchicine (Colcrys).

Do not use clarithromycin if you are also using any of the drugs listed below. They can interact with clarithromycin and cause life-threatening heart rhythm disorders:

Take this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. Clarithromycin is usually given for 7 to 14 days (or longer when treating stomach ulcer). Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics. Clarithromycin will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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