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Nitrofurantoin is an antibiotic used to treat or prevent certain bladder infections. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria.
This antibiotic treats only bacterial infections. It will not work for viral infections (e.g., common cold, flu). Unnecessary use or overuse of any antibiotic can lead to its decreased effectiveness.
This medication should not be used in infants younger than 1 month old (see also Precautions section). This drug should not be used to treat infections outside the bladder (e.g., kidney infections such as pyelonephritis or perinephric abscesses).
Shake the bottle well before each dose. Take this medication by mouth with food as directed by your doctor. This medication is usually taken 4 times daily to treat an infection or once daily at bedtime to prevent infections.
The dosage and length of treatment is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. For children, the dosage is also based on the body weight.
This drug may be mixed into water, juice, milk, or formula to improve the taste. Rinse the mouth after each dose to help prevent temporary staining of the teeth.
Do not use magnesium trisilicate-containing antacids while taking this medication. These antacids can bind with nitrofurantoin, preventing its full absorption into your system.
For the best effect, take this antibiotic at evenly spaced times. To help you remember, take this medication at the same time(s) every day.
When taking this medication to prevent infection, take it exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not skip doses or stop taking it without your doctor's approval. Inform your doctor if you notice signs of a bladder infection (e.g., pain while you are urinating).
If you are taking this medication to treat an infection, continue to take this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished, even if symptoms disappear after a few days. Stopping the medication too early may allow bacteria to continue to grow, which may result in a return of the infection. Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or headache may occur. Take this medication with food to help minimize nausea. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
This medication may cause your urine to turn dark yellow or brown in color. This is usually a harmless, temporary effect and will disappear when the medication is stopped. However, dark brown urine can also be a sign of rare side effects (liver problems or anemia). Therefore, seek immediate medical attention if you notice dark urine along with any of the following symptoms: persistent nausea/vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, tiredness, fast/pounding heartbeat.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: eye pain, vision changes, mental/mood changes, persistent/severe headaches, new signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat), easy bruising/bleeding.
Seek immediate medical attention if you develop the following rare but very serious side effects: numbness/tingling of the hands/feet, unusual muscle weakness.
This medication may rarely cause very serious (possibly fatal) lung problems. Lung problems may occur within the first month of treatment or after long-term use of nitrofurantoin (generally for 6 months or longer). Get medical help right away if you develop symptoms of lung problems, including: persistent cough, chest pain, shortness of breath/trouble breathing, joint/muscle pain, bluish/purplish skin.
This medication may rarely cause a severe intestinal condition (Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea) due to a resistant bacteria. This condition may occur during treatment or even weeks to months after treatment has stopped. Do not use anti-diarrhea products or narcotic pain medications if you have the following symptoms because these products may make them worse. Tell your doctor right away if you develop: persistent diarrhea, abdominal or stomach pain/cramping, blood/mucus in your stool.
Use of nitrofurantoin for prolonged or repeated periods may result in oral thrush or a new vaginal yeast infection. Contact your doctor if you notice white patches in your mouth, a change in vaginal discharge, or other new symptoms.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
Before taking nitrofurantoin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: kidney disease (e.g., little or no urine output), a certain genetic condition (G-6-PD deficiency), a history of liver problems due to nitrofurantoin use in the past.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver disease, lung disease, numbness/tingling of the arms/legs, vitamin B deficiency, mineral imbalance, blood disorders (e.g., anemia), diabetes, persistent weakness due to long-term disease, certain eye disorders (e.g., optic neuritis).
Kidney function declines as you grow older. This medication is removed by the kidneys. Therefore, older adults may be at a greater risk for side effects while using this drug, especially nerve, liver or lung problems (see Side Effects section).
Nitrofurantoin may cause live bacterial vaccines (such as typhoid vaccine) to not work as well. Do not have any immunizations/vaccinations while using this medication unless your doctor tells you to.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It must not be used if you are near the end of your pregnancy (38-42 weeks) or at the time of labor and delivery. Doing so may cause a certain blood disorder (hemolytic anemia) in your baby. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
This medication passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on nursing infants younger than 1 month old or those with a certain genetic condition (G-6-PD deficiency). Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Store at room temperature. Protect from light and from freezing. Discard any unused medication 30 days after opening the bottle. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
(See also How to Use section).
Your healthcare professionals (e.g., doctor or pharmacist) may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for it. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially: certain drugs to treat gout (uricosuric drugs such as sulfinpyrazone).
Although most antibiotics are unlikely to affect hormonal birth control such as pills, patch, or ring, a few antibiotics (such as rifampin, rifabutin) can decrease their effectiveness. This could result in pregnancy. If you use hormonal birth control, ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (certain urine glucose tests), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Do not share this medication with others.
This medication has been prescribed for your current condition only. Do not use it later for another infection unless told to do so by your doctor. A different medication may be necessary in those cases.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., kidney/liver function, blood counts/CBC, bacterial culture) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Lung function tests should be performed if you are prescribed nitrofurantoin products for extended treatment (several months or more). Consult your doctor for more details.