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Biaxin (Clarithromycin) is used to treat a number of bacterial infections affecting the skin and respiratory system.  Clarithromycin, in combination with other medications, can be used to treat certain types of stomach ulcers. Biaxin is a macrolide antibiotic and it works by stopping the growth of bacteria. This medication treats only bacterial infections and will not work for viral infections. Unnecessarily using any antibiotic reduces its effectiveness for future infections. Biaxin has a generic alternative available called Clarithromycin.

Always use Biaxin as directed by one’s physician. It is taken orally, with or without food, usually every 12 hours or as otherwise directed by your doctor. Shake the bottle well before each use. Measure the dose precisely using a special measuring device. A household spoon will not ensure you are getting the correct dose. Take the antibiotic at evenly spaced times. To remember, take it at the same time(s) daily. If you are using this medication as treatment for an infection, you must continue to take it until its fully prescribed amount is finished. This ensures that the infection won’t come back. If you are taking this medication as a preventative measure, take it exactly as directed by your doctor. It’s not advised that you stop taking this medication without doctor’s approval. Tell your physician immediately if you develop signs of infection such as a fever or night sweats. Also tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or worsens.


Prior to using Clarithromycin, consult with your doctor if you:

  • Are allergic to it or other macrolide antibiotics
  • Have any other allergies
  • Have a medical history of liver disease, kidney disease, heart disease, or a certain type of muscle disease called myasthenia gravis
  • Are taking any other medications and if you or your family have a history of certain heart problems
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

After taking this medication:

  • Get medical attention if you notice any symptoms of QT prolongation (a condition that affects the heart rhythm) such as severe dizziness or irregular heartbeat or are taking any other drugs that may cause QT prolongation as well
  • Low potassium or magnesium levels in the blood may also affect your risk of QT prolongation
  • Do not have any immunizations or vaccinations as Clarithromycin can cause them to not work as well
  • Before any surgery, tell your doctor or dentist what prescriptions, non-prescriptions, and herbal products you are taking

If your condition doesn’t improve or worsens, let your physician know immediately.

Side Effects

Side effects include but are not limited to:

  • Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting;

Stop taking Biaxin and get immediate medical help if you experience any of these rarer symptoms:

  • Persistent/severe nausea or vomiting;
  • Severe dizziness, fainting, or fast/irregular heartbeat
  • Persistent/ diarrhea, blood or mucus in stool, or abdominal/stomach pain can mean you have developed a severe intestinal condition (clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea) due to a type of resistant bacteria. Do not self-medicate with anti-diarrhea medications as they may make these symptoms worse.
  • Hearing loss, muscle weakness,
  • Eye problems, slurred speech,
  • Sudden mental or mood changes
  • Dark urine, yellowing of the eyes or skin
  • An extreme allergic reaction such as persistent fever, rash/itching/swelling, severe dizziness, new or worsening lymph node swelling, etc.

Prolonged use of Biaxin can result in oral thrush or a new yeast infection. Tell your doctor if you experience any symptoms such as white patches in the mouth.

If any of these effects persist or worsen immediately tell your doctor or pharmacist.


Q: What is Biaxin used for?

A: Biaxin (Clarithromycin) is used to treat a number of bacterial infections.


Q: Is Biaxin an antibiotic?

A: Yes, Clarithromycin is a macrolide antibiotic and is to be taken only for bacterial infections.


Q: Are there more risk factors of this medication in older adults?

A: Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication especially in terms of QT prolongation and hearing loss.


Q: What if I become pregnant while taking Biaxin?

A: Clarithromycin can harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control if you are using this drug. Immediately let your doctor know if you become pregnant.

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