Nitrofurantoin

Nitrofurantoin treats urinary tract infections. Finish taking all of your medication. Even if you feel better, do not stop taking medication unless your doctor tells you to stop.

Nitrofurantoin Overview

Reviewed: September 19, 2013
Updated: 

Nitrofurantoin is a prescription medication used to treat urinary tract infections. Nitrofurantoin belongs to a group of drugs called nitrofuran antibiotics. These agents work by stopping the growth of bacteria.

This medication comes as a capsule and a liquid. It is taken 2 to 4 times a day with food.

Common side effects of nitrofurantoin include diarrhea, stomach upset, dizziness, and drowsiness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how nitrofurantoin affects you.

Nitrofurantoin Genetic Information

G6PD is an enzyme in your body that is responsible for helping red blood cells to work properly. Some patients are born with less of this enzyme in their bodies, leading to the destruction of red blood cells. When nitrofurantoin is used in patients with G6PD deficiency, they have a higher chance of experiencing hemolytic anemia (a condition in which the body does not have enough red blood cells to deliver oxygen to your tissues).

G6PD testing may be done to determine whether you are at a higher risk of experiencing hemolytic anemia if you are to be treated with nitrofurantoin.

Your doctor will select an alternative medication as nitrofurantoin should not be given to patients with G6PD deficiency.

Patient Ratings for Nitrofurantoin

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  • Bacterial Infections
  • Gram-negative Bacterial Infections
  • Gram-positive Bacterial Infections
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Nitrofurantoin Cautionary Labels

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Uses of Nitrofurantoin

Nitrofurantoin is a prescription medication used to treat urinary tract infections.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Nitrofurantoin Brand Names

Nitrofurantoin may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Nitrofurantoin Drug Class

Nitrofurantoin is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Nitrofurantoin

Serious side effects have been reported with nitrofurantoin. See "Precautions" section.

Common side effects of nitrofurantoin include the following:

  • diarrhea
  • upset stomach
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • constipation
  • vomiting

This is not a complete list of nitrofurantoin side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Nitrofurantoin Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • Antacids containing magnesium such as aluminum hydroxide or magnesium hydroxide (Mylanta)
  • Uricosuric drugs such as probenecid (Benemid)

This is not a complete list of nitrofurantoin drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Nitrofurantoin Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with nitrofurantoin including the following:

  • Lung problems (pulmonary hypersensitivity reactions). Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have some or all of the following symptoms:
    • malaise
    • dyspnea
    • cough
  • Liver problems
  • Peripheral neuropathy (nerve problems)
  • Clostridium difficile- associated diarrhea

Nitrofurantoin can cause drowsiness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how nitrofurantoin affects you.

Do not take nitrofurantoin if you:

  • are known hypersensitivity/allergy to nitrofurantoin or to any of its ingredients
  • significant impairment of renal function
  • pregnant patients at term (38-42 weeks gestation) as well as  during labor and delivery
  • in patients with a previous history of cholestatic jaundice/hepatic dysfunction associated with nitrofurantoin

Nitrofurantoin Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of nitrofurantoin, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

Inform MD

Before taking nitrofurantoin, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to nitrofurantoin or to any of its ingredients
  • have a previous history of cholestatic jaundice/hepatic dysfunction associated with nitrofurantoin
  • have kidney problems
  • lung disease
  • nerve damage
  • anemia
  • glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PD) deficiency (an inherited blood disease)
  • if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Nitrofurantoin and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Nitrofurantoin falls into category B. There are no well-done studies that have been done in humans with nitrofurantoin. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication, and the babies did not show any medical issues related to this medication.

 

Nitrofurantoin and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

Nitrofurantoin has been detected in human breast milk. Because of the possibility for adverse reactions in nursing infants from nitrofurantoin, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or to stop use of this medication. The importance of the drug to the mother should be considered.

 

Nitrofurantoin Usage

Take nitrofurantoin exactly as prescribed.

Nitrofurantoin is available in a capsule and oral suspension can be given two or four times a day.

It is recommended to take nitrofurantoin with food.

Patients should be instructed to complete the full course of therapy; however, they should be advised to contact their physician if any unusual symptoms occur during therapy.

Suspension:

  • Shake the liquid well before each use to mix the medication evenly. Use a dose-measuring spoon or cup to measure the correct amount of liquid for each dose; not a household spoon.

If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of nitrofurantoin at the same time.

 

Nitrofurantoin Dosage

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

  • the condition being treated
  • other medical conditions you have
  • other medications you are taking
  • how you respond to this medication
  • your weight
  • your age

Nitrofurantoin - Macrodantin capsules and Furadantin suspension

Treatment of urinary tract infections

The recommended dose range for the treatment of urinary tract infection in adults is 50-100 mg four times daily. The lower dosage level is recommended for uncomplicated urinary tract infections.

Pediatric Patients: 5-7 mg/kg of body weight per 24 hours, given in four divided doses. Nitrofurantoin use is not recommended in infants younger than one month of age.

Therapy should be continued for one week or for at least 3 days after urine shows no bacteria. Your doctor will determine how long you will be treated.

Prevention of urinary tract infections

  • The recommended dose in adults is 50-100 mg at bedtime.
  • The recommended dose in in pediatric patients, doses as low as 1 mg/kg per 24 hours, given in a single dose or in two divided doses, may be given.

Nitrofurantoin - Macrobid capsules

  • Adults and Pediatric Patients Over 12 Years: 100 mg every 12 hours

Nitrofurantoin Overdose

If you take too much nitrofurantoin, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

 

Other Requirements

  • Store nitrofurantoin at controlled room temperature (59° to 86°F or 15° to 30°C).
  • Keep away from heat and sunlight.
  • Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.