Generic Name: nitrofurantoin (NYE troe fue RAN toin)
Brand Name: Macrobid, Macrodantin, Nitro Macro
Medically reviewed by Sanjai Sinha, MD. Last updated on Apr 1, 2020.
What is nitrofurantoin?
Nitrofurantoin is an antibiotic that fights bacteria in the body.
Nitrofurantoin is used to treat urinary tract infections.
Nitrofurantoin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not take nitrofurantoin if you have severe kidney disease, urination problems, or a history of jaundice or liver problems caused by nitrofurantoin.
Do not take this medicine if you are in the last 2 to 4 weeks of pregnancy.
Before taking this medicine
You should not take nitrofurantoin if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
severe kidney disease;
a history of jaundice or liver problems caused by taking nitrofurantoin;
if you are urinating less than usual or not at all; or
if you are in the last 2 to 4 weeks of pregnancy.
Do not take nitrofurantoin if you are in the last 2 to 4 weeks of pregnancy.
To make sure nitrofurantoin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
an electrolyte imbalance or vitamin B deficiency;
glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency; or
any type of debilitating disease.
FDA pregnancy category B. This medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby during early pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
Nitrofurantoin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are taking this medicine.
Nitrofurantoin should not be given to a child younger than 1 month old.
How should I take nitrofurantoin?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Take nitrofurantoin with food.
Shake the oral suspension (liquid) well just before you measure a dose. Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
You may mix your liquid dose with water, milk, or fruit juice to make it easier to swallow. Drink the entire mixture right away.
Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. 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. Nitrofurantoin will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.
Nitrofurantoin is usually given for up to 3 to 7 days.
If you use this medicine long-term, you may need frequent medical tests at your doctor's office.
Nitrofurantoin can cause unusual results with certain lab tests for glucose (sugar) in the urine. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using nitrofurantoin.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking nitrofurantoin?
Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or has blood in it, call your doctor. Do not use any medicine to stop the diarrhea unless your doctor has told you to.
Avoid using antacids without your doctor's advice. Use only the type of antacid your doctor recommends. Some antacids can make it harder for your body to absorb nitrofurantoin.
Nitrofurantoin side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to nitrofurantoin: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
sudden chest pain or discomfort, wheezing, dry cough or hack;
new or worsening cough, trouble breathing;
fever, chills, body aches, tiredness, unexplained weight loss;
numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands or feet;
liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
lupus-like syndrome--joint pain or swelling with fever, swollen glands, muscle aches, chest pain, vomiting, unusual thoughts or behavior, and patchy skin color.
Serious side effects may be more likely in older adults and those who are ill or debilitated.
Common nitrofurantoin side effects may include:
gas, upset stomach;
mild diarrhea; 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.
Nitrofurantoin dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Cystitis:
Regular release: 50 to 100 mg orally 4 times a day for 1 week or for at least 3 days after urine sterility is obtained
Dual release: 100 mg orally twice a day for 7 days
Usual Adult Dose for Cystitis Prophylaxis:
Regular release: 50 to 100 mg orally once a day at bedtime
Usual Pediatric Dose for Cystitis:
1 month or older: 5 to 7 mg/kg/day (up to 400 mg/day) orally in 4 divided doses
Greater than 12 years: 100 mg orally twice a day for 7 days
Usual Pediatric Dose for Cystitis Prophylaxis:
1 month or older: 1 to 2 mg/kg/day (up to 100 mg/day) orally in 1 to 2 divided doses
What other drugs will affect nitrofurantoin?
Other drugs may interact with nitrofurantoin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use nitrofurantoin only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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- Drug class: urinary anti-infectives