Generic name: furazolidone (fure-a-ZOL-i-done)
Drug class: Miscellaneous antibiotics
Chemical Class: Nitrofuran
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jun 12, 2021.
Uses for furazolidone
Furazolidone is used to treat bacterial and protozoal infections. It works by killing bacteria and protozoa (tiny, one-celled animals). Some protozoa are parasites that can cause many different kinds of infections in the body.
Furazolidone is taken by mouth. It works inside the intestinal tract to treat cholera, colitis, and/or diarrhea caused by bacteria, and giardiasis. Furazolidone is sometimes given with other medicines for bacterial infections.
Furazolidone may cause some serious side effects when taken with certain foods, beverages, or other medicines. Check with your health care professional for a list of products that should be avoided.
Furazolidone is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using furazolidone
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For furazolidone, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to furazolidone or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Because furazolidone may cause anemia, use in infants up to 1 month of age is not recommended.
Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of furazolidone in the elderly with use in other age groups.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking furazolidone, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using furazolidone with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using furazolidone with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Cholera Vaccine, Live
- Iobenguane I 123
- Iobenguane I 131
- Ma Huang
- Methylene Blue
- Morphine Sulfate Liposome
- St John's Wort
Using furazolidone with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Insulin Aspart, Recombinant
- Insulin Bovine
- Insulin Degludec
- Insulin Detemir
- Insulin Glargine, Recombinant
- Insulin Glulisine
- Insulin Lispro, Recombinant
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using furazolidone with any of the following is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication, change some of the other medicines you take, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Using furazolidone with any of the following is usually not recommended, but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use furazolidone, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
- Bitter Orange
- Tyramine Containing Food
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of furazolidone. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (lack of G6PD enzyme)—Patients with G6PD-deficiency may develop mild anemia while taking furazolidone
Proper use of furazolidone
Do not give furazolidone to infants up to 1 month of age, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Furazolidone may cause anemia in these patients.
Furazolidone may be taken with food to lessen the chance of an upset stomach.
To use the oral suspension:
- Use a specially marked measuring spoon or other device to measure each dose accurately. The average household teaspoon may not hold the right amount of liquid.
To help clear up your infection completely, keep taking furazolidone for the full time of treatment, even if you begin to feel better after a few days. If you stop taking furazolidone too soon, your symptoms may return. Do not miss any doses.
The dose of furazolidone will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of furazolidone. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage forms (oral suspension or tablets):
- For cholera or diarrhea caused by bacteria:
- Adults—100 milligrams (mg) taken four times a day for five to seven days.
- Children up to 1 month of age—Use is not recommended.
- Children 1 month of age and over—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 1.25 mg per kilogram (kg) (0.56 mg per pound) of body weight taken four times a day for five to seven days.
- For giardiasis:
- Adults—100 mg taken four times a day for seven to ten days.
- Children up to 1 month of age—Use is not recommended.
- Children 1 month of age and over—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 1.25 mg to 2 mg per kg (0.56 to 0.90 mg per pound) of body weight taken four times a day for seven to ten days.
- For cholera or diarrhea caused by bacteria:
If you miss a dose of furazolidone, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Precautions while using furazolidone
It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This is to check whether or not the infection is cleared up completely.
If your symptoms do not improve within a week, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
Drinking alcoholic beverages or taking other alcohol-containing preparations (for example, elixirs, cough syrups, tonics, or injections of alcohol) while taking furazolidone may rarely cause problems. These problems include increased side effects such as redness of the face, difficult breathing, fainting, and a feeling of tightness in the chest. These side effects usually go away within 24 hours without treatment. However, these effects may occur if you drink alcoholic beverages for up to 4 days after you stop taking furazolidone. Therefore, you should not drink alcoholic beverages or take other alcohol-containing preparations while you are taking furazolidone and for 4 days after stopping it.
Certain foods, drinks, or other medicines may cause very dangerous reactions, such as severe high blood pressure, when taken with furazolidone. Aged or fermented foods and drinks commonly contain tyramine or other substances that increase blood pressure. To avoid such reactions, the following measures are recommended:
- Do not eat foods that have a high tyramine content (most common in foods that are aged or fermented to increase their flavor), such as cheeses; yeast or meat extracts; fava or broad bean pods; smoked or pickled meat, poultry, or fish; fermented sausage (bologna, pepperoni, salami, summer sausage) or other fermented meat; or any overripe fruit. If a list of these foods is not given to you, ask your health care professional to provide one.
- Do not drink alcoholic beverages or alcohol-free or reduced-alcohol beer and wine.
- Do not eat or drink large amounts of caffeine-containing food or beverages such as chocolate, coffee, tea, or cola.
- Do not take any other medicines unless approved or prescribed by your doctor. This includes nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) appetite suppressants (diet pills) or medicine for colds, sinus problems, or hay fever or other allergies.
- Do not take any of the above-listed foods, drinks, or medicine for at least 2 weeks after you stop taking furazolidone. They may continue to react with furazolidone during that time.
- Other foods may also contain tyramine or other substances that increase blood pressure. However, these products generally do not cause serious problems when taken with furazolidone, especially if eaten when fresh and in small amounts. These include yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, chocolate, and soy sauce. If you have any questions about this, ask your health care professional. Also ask for a list of foods, beverages, or medicines that may cause serious problems when taken with furazolidone.
Furazolidone side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- joint pain
- skin rash or redness
- sore throat
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- nausea or vomiting
Furazolidone commonly causes dark yellow to brown discoloration of urine. This side effect does not usually need medical attention.
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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