Metronidazole

Brand names of metronidazole

  • Apo-Metronidazole
  • Femazole
  • Flagyl
  • Flagystatin
  • Lagyl
  • Metizol
  • MetroCream
  • MetroGel
  • Metro IV
  • Metryl
  • Neo-Tric
  • Nidagel
  • Novo-Nidazole
  • PMS-Metronidazole
  • Protostat
  • Rho-Metrostatin
  • Rosasol
  • SK Metronidazole
  • Trikacide

The prescription drug metronidazole is basically an antibiotic that is useful in combating anaerobic bacteria as well as some other specific parasites. It may be noted that anaerobic bacteria are living organisms made up of a solitary cell and have the aptitude to thrive in anaerobic environments (conditions where there is very little oxygen). Anaerobic bacteria are usually responsible for the ailments in the abdomen (bacterial peritonitis), liver (liver abscess) as well as in the pelvis (abscess of the ovaries and the Fallopian tubes). On the other hand, ameba and giardia lamblia are basically parasites found in the intestines and are responsible for pain in the abdominal region and diarrhea in people who are infected by these parasites. Trichomonas is a parasite found in the vagina and causes vaginitis or inflammation of the vagina. Use of the medication metronidazole helps to selectively block a number of the actions inside the bacterial cells and parasites eventually causing their elimination or death.

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Here is a word of caution. In order to lessen the growth of drug-resilient bacteria as well as to sustain the usefulness of metronidazole as well as other antibacterial medications, it is important that such drugs should only be used to prevent or treat infections that have been established or strongly assumed to have been caused by bacteria. This is important because antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections, but are often misused by prescribing them for other infections too.

Things you need to tell your physician before taking metronidazole

As in the case of taking any new medication, you ought to exercise a number of precautions before starting your treatment with metronidazole. First and foremost, before you start taking metronidazole you must tell your doctor if you have any allergic reaction to this medicine, any other nitroimidazoles, for instance tinidazole or if you are having any other allergies. In effect, metronidazole is likely to contain a number of active ingredients that have the potential to trigger off allergic reactions or cause other problems. Therefore, it is advisable that you discuss in detail about the issue with your doctor prior to taking the medication.

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In addition, prior to starting your treatment with metronidazole, tell your doctor about all the prescription, non-prescription drugs, herbal products, vitamins, minerals and dietary supplements being taken by you currently. Also tell your doctor about your entire medical history, particularly if you have any liver ailment, blood disorder, disorders of the nervous system, such as seizures, and Crohn's disease.

People taking metronidazole should avoid consumption of alcoholic beverages. In fact, they should also not drink alcohol for a minimum of one day or three days if they are taking the oral metronidazole capsules even after discontinuing the medication. Consuming alcoholic beverages while taking metronidazole may cause acute stomach upset, stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea, headache and/ or flushing. In addition, people taking this medication should be aware that it causes dizziness and, hence, they should not undertake any task that requires alertness, such as driving a vehicle or operating a machine, till they are sure about the effect of the medication on them and also be certain that they can perform these tasks safely. In fact, elderly people taking metronidazole are more susceptible to the side effects of this medicament and, therefore, they should adopt additional caution.

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Women who intend to take metronidazole for their condition ought to tell their doctor if they are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should never be used during the first three months of pregnancy and used only with extreme caution during the final six months. Moreover, pregnant women should only use this drug when their infection has not been cured even after using other antibiotics.

As metronidazole is known to pass onto the breast milk, nursing mothers should discuss the hazards as well as benefits of taking this drug with their doctor prior to starting their treatment with this medication or breast-feeding. In the event of your doctor having prescribed you a single dose treatment, it is possible that your doctor will ask you to suspend breast-feeding for a brief period after the dose. Thus, it is essential for new mothers to consult with their doctor for further details on this issue.

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Usage

Metronidazole is an antibiotic medication that has been indicated for bacterial infections, counting specific sexually transmitted diseases (STD), gynaecological infections, brain abscess or meningitis, amebiasis (infection caused by amoeba in the liver or intestine), blood poisoning, pneumonia or any other lung infections, infection of the internal organs, like liver abscess and peritonitis, infection of the bone and joints, and skin infections. However, it needs to be mentioned that metronidazole does not help to treat a vaginal infection caused by yeast.

As aforementioned, metronidazole belongs to a class of antibiotic drugs called nitroimidazoles. This medication works by stopping the growth of bacteria as well as protozoa by interfering with the DNA synthesis within their cell. This eventually results in the death of the microorganisms. It is important to note that this antibiotic is only effective against infections by bacteria and protozoa and will not be helpful in the instance of any viral infection, for instance, common cold or flu. Needless use or excessive use of any antibiotic is likely to diminish its effectiveness and make bacteria resistant to it.

How to use metronidazole

It is recommended that you should take metronidazole with food or a full glass (8 ounce) of water or milk with a view to avoid any stomach upset. The dosage of this antibiotic medication basically depends on the medical condition of the patient, the precise sort of infection that needs to be treated as well as the patient's response to therapy. It may be noted that all antibiotics work optimally when the amount of the medication in the body is constant all through. Hence, it is important to take this medication at equally spaced intervals.

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Even if the symptoms fade or you start feeling better after taking metronidazole for a while, you should continue taking the medication for the entire period prescribed by your doctor. If you discontinue taking this drug too early or prior to the prescribed period, it will increase the risks of allowing the growth of the bacteria or protozoa to continue. As a result, there may be a relapse of the infection and it may be more difficult to treat your condition during this period.

If you find that your condition persists or worsens even after taking metronidazole for a while, contact your doctor and ask him about what you should do. In case you miss a dose of the medication, take it immediately when you remember. However, if it is already time for the subsequent dose of the medication, skip the missed dose and continue with your dosing schedule. Never ever take a double dose of metronidazole with a view to make up for the missed dose. Taking the medication in excess or too frequently will not help to cure your condition sooner, but may result in serious side effects.

How metronidazole works

The antibiotic medication metronidazole works by eliminating bacteria, protozoa and other specific parasites, in all probability by obstructing sever actions within their cell structure, especially by disturbing the DNA synthesis of the microorganisms.

Side effects

Serious:
Oral and injection forms:
Common:
Oral and injection forms:Vaginal gel:
  • burning urination
  • more frequent urination
  • painful intercourse
  • stinging, redness or itching of genital area
  • thick
  • vaginal itching
  • white vaginal discharge
Less common:
Oral and injection forms:Cream and gel:
  • dry skin
  • skin irritation
  • watery eyes with stinging or burning
Vaginal gel:
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • furry tongue
  • light-headedness
  • loss of appetite
  • metallic taste in the mouth
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Possible interactions

As in the case of any other drug, metronidazole is also known to interact with certain medications, especially herbal products and/ or minerals and, hence, it is advisable not to take them concurrently. A number of people use the herb Echinacea with a view to perk up their immune systems. However, it is unfortunate to note that using Echinacea is not indicated for use by people having an impaired immune system, even if the damage has been caused by the use of any other medication. Precisely speaking, Echinacea has the aptitude to deteriorate any immune system if the herb is used very frequently or for a prolonged period. In addition, people using metronidazole are advised not to take certain herbs, such as marshmallow root, mistletoe herb, oak bark and/ or licorice.

In addition, it has been found that consumption of alcohol may prove to be detrimental for the health of patients who are using metronidazole. Hence, such patients should avoid alcohol while undergoing treatment with this antibiotic drug.

Storage instructions

Metronidazole tablets should always be store at room temperature under 77°F (25°C) and kept in a dark place. The capsule form of this medication should be stored at or below room temperature ranging between 59°F and 77°F (15°C and 25°C). It is advisable never to store this medication in your bathroom. The medications should be kept in such a place which is beyond the reach of children and pets.

When the medication becomes outdated or are required no more, discard it in a proper and safe manner. Never dispose of the medication by flushing it down the toilet or throwing it into a drain, unless if you have been instructed to do so. If required, you may consult your pharmacist or the neighbourhood disposal company for advice regarding the safe and appropriate way to discard the unwanted medications.

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