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All about: Metronidazole Capsules

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Generic Name: Metronidazole Capsules and Tablets (me-troe-NIH-duh-zole)
Brand Name: Flagyl

Metronidazole Capsules has been shown to cause cancer in animal studies. Do not use Metronidazole Capsules if it is not necessary. Use Metronidazole Capsules only for the condition for which it is prescribed.


Metronidazole Capsules is used for:

Treating certain infections caused by bacteria or amoebas. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Metronidazole Capsules is an oral antiprotozoal and antibacterial. It is thought to work by entering the bacterial cell, acting on some components of the cell and destroying the bacteria.

Do NOT use Metronidazole Capsules if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Metronidazole Capsules or to other nitroimidazoles (eg, tinidazole)
  • you are in the first 3 months of pregnancy
  • you are taking busulfan, an ergot alkaloid (eg, ergotamine), or you have taken disulfiram within the past 2 weeks
  • you are taking an HIV protease inhibitor that contains alcohol (eg, amprenavir solution); check with your pharmacist if you are unsure if the medicine contains alcohol
  • you drink alcohol

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Metronidazole Capsules:

Some medical conditions may interact with Metronidazole Capsules. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have nerve, brain, or blood problems; Crohn disease; or a history of liver problems

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Metronidazole Capsules. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Barbiturates (eg, phenobarbital) or phenytoin because they may decrease Metronidazole Capsules's effectiveness
  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin), busulfan, ergot alkaloids (eg, ergotamine), HIV protease inhibitors containing alcohol (eg, amprenavir solution), lithium, or macrolide immunosuppressants (eg, tacrolimus) because their risk of side effects may be increased by Metronidazole Capsules
  • Disulfiram because side effects, such as mental or mood changes, may occur
  • Oral contraceptives (eg, birth control pills) because their effectiveness may be decreased by Metronidazole Capsules

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Metronidazole Capsules may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Metronidazole Capsules:

Use Metronidazole Capsules as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take Metronidazole Capsules by mouth with food.
  • To clear up your infection completely, take Metronidazole Capsules for the full course of treatment. Keep taking it even if you feel better in a few days.
  • If you miss a dose of Metronidazole Capsules, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Metronidazole Capsules.

Important safety information:

  • Metronidazole Capsules may cause dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Metronidazole Capsules with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are taking Metronidazole Capsules and for at least 1 day after the last dose.
  • Contact your doctor right away if stomach pain or cramps, severe diarrhea, or bloody stools occur. Do not treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor.
  • Metronidazole Capsules only works against bacteria; it does not treat viral infections (eg, the common cold).
  • Be sure to use Metronidazole Capsules for the full course of treatment. If you do not, the medicine may not clear up your infection completely. The bacteria could also become less sensitive to this or other medicines. This could make the infection harder to treat in the future.
  • Long-term or repeated use of Metronidazole Capsules may cause a second infection. Tell your doctor if signs of a second infection occur. Your medicine may need to be changed to treat this.
  • Hormonal birth control (eg, birth control pills) may not work as well while you are using Metronidazole Capsules. To prevent pregnancy, use an extra form of birth control (eg, condoms).
  • Metronidazole Capsules may interfere with certain lab tests. Be sure your doctor and lab personnel know you are taking Metronidazole Capsules.
  • Lab tests, including liver function and white blood cell counts, may be performed while you use Metronidazole Capsules. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use Metronidazole Capsules with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Metronidazole Capsules should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Metronidazole Capsules while you are pregnant. Do not use Metronidazole Capsules in the first 3 months of pregnancy. Metronidazole Capsules is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Metronidazole Capsules.

Possible side effects of Metronidazole Capsules:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Appetite loss; constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; headache; metallic taste; nausea; stomach upset; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); bloody stools; increased or decreased urination; numbness, tingling, or burning of your arms, hands, legs, or feet; seizures; severe diarrhea; sore throat, chills, or fever; stomach pain or cramps; vaginal itching, odor, or discharge; white patches in the mouth.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include nausea; seizures; vomiting.

Proper storage of Metronidazole Capsules:

Store Metronidazole Capsules at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Metronidazole Capsules out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Metronidazole Capsules, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Metronidazole Capsules is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Metronidazole Capsules. If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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