Biaxin XL

Generic Name: Clarithromycin

  • What is Biaxin XL?

    Biaxin XL is an antibiotic used to treat mild to moderate bacterial infections in adults, including sinus infections, chronic bronchitis, and pneumonia.

  • What is the most important information I should know about Biaxin XL?

    Like all antibiotics, Biaxin XL works only against bacteria. It will not cure an infection caused by a virus, such as the common cold or flu.

    Due to potential harm to the baby, Biaxin XL should only be used by pregnant women when other alternatives have failed.

    Biaxin XL may worsen symptoms of a condition called myasthenia gravis.

    Mild diarrhea is common with antibiotic use. However, a more serious form of diarrhea although rare, may occur. Contact your doctor right away if you experience stomach pain or cramps, severe diarrhea, or bloody stools. Do not treat the diarrhea without first checking with your doctor.

  • Who should not take Biaxin XL?

    Do not take Biaxin XL if you have had a previous allergic reaction to clarithromycin, erythromycin, or any of the macrolide antibiotics. Do not take Biaxin XL if you are taking any of the following medications: cisapride, pimozide, astemizole, terfenadine, ergotamine, or dihydroergotamine.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Biaxin XL?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Biaxin XL. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have liver or kidney problems, a condition called myasthenia gravis, or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Acute Exacerbation of Chronic Bronchitis

    Adults: Take one 500-milligram (mg) tablet twice a day for 7 days.

    Community-Acquired Pneumonia

    Adults: Take one 500-mg tablet twice a day for 7 days.


    Adults: Take one 500-mg tablet twice a day for 14 days.

  • How should I take Biaxin XL?

    Take Biaxin XL tablets with food. Biaxin XL tablets should be swallowed whole and not chewed, crushed, or broken.

    It's important to take the full dosage schedule of Biaxin XL, even if you're feeling better in a few days. Not completing the full dosage schedule may decrease the drug's effectiveness and increase the chances that the bacteria may become resistant to Biaxin XL and similar antibiotics. If this happens, Biaxin XL and similar antibiotics may not work in the future.

  • What should I avoid while taking Biaxin XL?

    It is important to avoid using certain medications (see "What are possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?" below) with Biaxin XL.

    Avoid becoming pregnant while on Biaxin XL therapy.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Biaxin XL?

    If Biaxin XL is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Biaxin XL with the following: alfentanil, alprazolam, astemizole, atazanavir, bromocriptine, carbamazepine, cilostazol, cisapride, colchicine, cyclosporine, digoxin, dihydroergotamine, disopyramide, efavirenz, ergotamine, hexobarbital, itraconazole, methylprednisolone, midazolam, nevirapine, omeprazole, oral anticoagulants (such as warfarin), phenytoin, pimozide, quinidine, rifampicin, rifabutin, rifapentine, ritonavir, saquinavir, sildenafil, statins (such as lovastatin and simvastatin), tacrolimus, tadalafil, terfenadine, theophylline, tolterodine, triazolam, valproate, vardenafil, verapamil, vinblastine, and zidovudine.

  • What are the possible side effects of Biaxin XL?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: diarrhea, abnormal taste, nausea

  • Can I receive Biaxin XL if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    It is not recommended to use Biaxin XL if you are or may become pregnant. Biaxin XL is only used in pregnant women if and when other alternatives have failed. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Biaxin XL?

    If you miss a dose of Biaxin XL, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once. If you are unsure, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

  • How should I store Biaxin XL?

    Store Biaxin XL at room temperature.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Beth Isaac, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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