Search Medications (Drugs):
Medications (Drugs) from A to Z:
Home > Medications (Drugs) > n > Nitrofurantoin (oral)

Nitrofurantoin (oral)

Pronunciation:  nye troe fyoor AN toyn
Generic:  nitrofurantoin
Brand:  Furadantin, Macrobid, Macrodantin.

What is nitrofurantoin?

Nitrofurantoin is an antibiotic. It fights bacteria in the body.

Nitrofurantoin is used to treat urinary tract infections.

Nitrofurantoin may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

How should I take nitrofurantoin?

Take nitrofurantoin exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these instructions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Take each dose with a full glass of water.

Take nitrofurantoin with food or milk to decrease stomach upset and to increase the absorption of the drug into the body.

Shake the suspension well before measuring a dose. To ensure that you get the correct dose, measure the suspension with a dose-measuring spoon or dropper, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist where you can get one. The suspension can be mixed with water, milk, fruit juice, or infant formula to ease administration. Ensure that the whole mixture is consumed immediately after mixing.

Do not crush, chew, or break the sustained release forms of nitrofurantoin. Swallow them whole. They are specially formulated to slowly release the medication in the body.

Take all of the nitrofurantoin that has been prescribed for you even if you begin to feel better. Your symptoms may start to improve before the infection is completely treated.

Store this medication at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What are the possible side effects of nitrofurantoin?

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking nitrofurantoin and seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately:

  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
  • shortness of breath, chest pain, or other respiratory problems;
  • stomach pain;
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes;
  • unusual fatigue or weakness;
  • numbness or tingling;
  • fever or chills;
  • visual changes; or
  • diarrhea.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take your medication and talk to your doctor if you experience

  • rust-colored or brownish urine;
  • headache;
  • dizziness;
  • drowsiness;
  • nausea;
  • incorrect results with some urine sugar tests.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect nitrofurantoin?

Drugs that contain magnesium such as magnesium salicylate (Magan) and choline-magnesium salicylate (Arthropan) as well as antacids like Maalox, Mylanta, Milk of Magnesia, Gelusil, and others may decrease the amount of nitrofurantoin that gets absorbed into the body. Avoid taking medications that contain magnesium within two hours before and after a dose of nitrofurantoin.

Before taking nitrofurantoin, tell your doctor if you are taking probenecid (Benemid) or sulfinpyrazone (Anturane). You may not be able to take nitrofurantoin, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment.

Nitrofurantoin may cause incorrect results with some urine sugar tests. Check with your doctor before making dietary or medication changes if you have diabetes.

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with nitrofurantoin. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including herbal products.

What should I avoid while taking nitrofurantoin?

Drugs that contain magnesium such as magnesium salicylate (Magan) and choline-magnesium salicylate (Arthropan) as well as antacids like Maalox, Mylanta, Milk of Magnesia, Gelusil, and others may decrease the amount of nitrofurantoin that gets absorbed into the body. Avoid taking medications that contain magnesium within two hours before and after a dose of nitrofurantoin.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention.

Symptoms of a nitrofurantoin overdose include nausea and vomiting.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed, and take only the next dose as directed. Do not take a double dose of this medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

What is the most important information I should know about nitrofurantoin?

Serious side effects involving the lungs, liver, nerves, eyes, blood, and intestines have been reported rarely with the use of nitrofurantoin. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop shortness of breath, chest pain, or other respiratory problems; stomach pain; yellowing of the skin or eyes; unusual fatigue or weakness; numbness or tingling; fever or chills; visual changes or eye pain; or diarrhea during treatment with nitrofurantoin.

Take all of the nitrofurantoin that has been prescribed for you even if you begin to feel better. Your symptoms may start to improve before the infection is completely treated.

Take nitrofurantoin with food or milk to decrease stomach upset and to increase the absorption of the drug in the stomach.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking nitrofurantoin?

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have

  • kidney disease,
  • anemia,
  • diabetes,
  • glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency,
  • any type of debilitating disease, or
  • vitamin B deficiency.

You may not be able to take nitrofurantoin, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

Nitrofurantoin is in the FDA pregnancy category B. This means that it not likely to harm an unborn baby. However, nitrofurantoin should not be taken by pregnant women who are at term (38-42 weeks gestation), during labor and delivery, or when the onset of labor is imminent. Do not take nitrofurantoin without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant.

Nitrofurantoin passes into breast milk and may harm a nursing infant. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast feeding a baby.

Nitrofurantoin should not be used by infants younger than 1 month of age. They cannot properly eliminate the drug from their bodies, and dangerous side effects could result.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist has additional information about nitrofurantoin written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Nitrofurantoin is available with a prescription under the brand names Macrodantin and Macrobid. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Macrodantin 25 mgopaque white capsules with one black stripe
  • Macrodantin 50 mgopaque, yellow/white capsules with two black stripes
  • Macrodantin 100 mgopaque yellow capsules with three black stripes
  • Macrobid 100 mgopaque, black/yellow capsules

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Advertisement