Clarithromycin is an antibiotic belonging to the group of macrolides. Macrolides are a large family of natural products, many of which have antibiotic effects. Macrolide antibiotics are special molecules that act by interfering with the protein synthesis process of the pathogenic microorganism. These organisms are exerted by binding to the 50S ribosomal subunit, which prevents the enzyme peptidyltransferase to provide for the elongation of the nascent polypeptide chain. As a result from this process, they block the growth and multiplication of the microbe. Generally, macrolide antibiotics are bacteriostatic, but when administered at high doses, they also become bactericides.

What is Clarithromycin?

Clarithromycin is used to cope with different types of infections, such as:

  • Infections of the upper airways (throat infections and sinus) and lower airways (bronchitis and pneumonia);
  • Infections of the skin characterized with mild to moderate severity.

How should Clarithromycin be taken?

Clarithromycin is administered orally, in the form of tablets, capsules, oral suspension, or parenteral (powder and solvent for intravenous or intramuscular injections). The duration of treatment varies depending on the type of infection that is combating, and can go from a few days (three), up to two weeks.

Side effects associated with Clarithromycin

Among the adverse effects from the use of Clarithromycin, the following should be highlighted:

  • Gastrointestinal disorders: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, dyspepsia, abdominal pain, stomatitis, glossitis, taste disturbances
  • Disorders of the Central nervous system: headaches
  • Abnormalities in the liver function: increased transaminases (reversible)
  • Dermatological disorders: skin rash, edema, urticaria, Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Cardiovascular disorders (rare): arrhythmia, tachycardia, QT prolongation

In the case of injections, you may experience pain and swelling in the inoculation site.

Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Clarithromycin

Clarithromycin is contraindicated for patients with known hypersensitivity to Clarithromycin, other macrolide antibiotics or to other components and other ingredients.

It must not be used by patients who suffer from severe hepatic failure in combination with insufficient kidney function, in patients already suffering from an extension of QT interval, ventricular tachycardia, and by patients suffering from hypokalaemia (risk of prolongation of QT interval).

Particular attention should be paid when administering the drug to people who suffer from liver or kidney dysfunction.

Since the safe use of Clarithromycin during pregnancy has not been established yet, the use during pregnancy is not recommended unless the benefit outweighs the risks. Since Clarithromycin has been found in human milk, it is good not to use this medication while breastfeeding or discontinue the latter if it is necessary for the mother to undergo a clarithromycin-based therapy.