Flagyl

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP Last updated on RxList: 11/15/2021
Flagyl Patient Information Including Side Effects

Brand Names: FIRST Metronidazole, Flagyl, Flagyl 375, Flagyl ER, Flagyl I.V. RTU, Metryl, Protostat

Generic Name: metronidazole (oral/injection)

What is metronidazole?

Metronidazole is an antibiotic that is used to treat bacterial infections of the vagina, stomach, liver, skin, joints, brain and spinal cord, lungs, heart, or bloodstream.

Metronidazole is also used to treat trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasite. Usually both sexual partners are treated at the same time, even if one has no symptoms.

Do not use metronidazole to treat any condition that has not been checked by your doctor.

Metronidazole may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of metronidazole?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, itching, warmth or tingling; fever, joint pain; dry mouth, dry vagina; stuffy nose, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).

Call your doctor at once if you have:

Stop taking the medicine and call your doctor right away if you have neurologic side effects (more likely to occur while taking metronidazole long term):

  • numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands or feet;
  • vision problems, pain behind your eyes, seeing flashes of light;
  • muscle weakness, problems with speech or coordination;
  • trouble speaking or understanding what is said to you;
  • a seizure; or
  • fever, neck stiffness, and increased sensitivity to light.

Metronidazole can cause life-threatening liver problems in people with Cockayne syndrome. If you have this condition, stop taking metronidazole and contact your doctor if you have signs of liver failure--nausea, stomach pain (upper right side), dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Side effects may be more likely in older adults.

Common side effects may include:

  • depression, trouble sleeping, feeling irritable;
  • headache, dizziness, weakness;
  • nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain;
  • diarrhea, constipation;
  • unpleasant metallic taste;
  • rash, itching;
  • vaginal itching or discharge, pain during sex;
  • mouth sores; or
  • swollen, red, or "hairy" tongue.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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

Do not drink alcohol or consume foods or medicines that contain propylene glycol while you are taking metronidazole and for at least 3 days after you stop taking it.

Metronidazole has caused cancer in animal studies. However, it is not known whether this would occur in humans. Ask your doctor about your risk.

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Fungal Skin Infections: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments See Slideshow
Flagyl Patient Information including How Should I Take

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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using metronidazole?

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to metronidazole, secnidazole, or tinidazole, or if:

  • you drank alcohol in the past 3 days;
  • you consumed foods or medicines that contain propylene glycol in the past 3 days; or
  • you took disulfiram (Antabuse) within the past 14 days.

May harm an unborn baby. Do not use metronidazole to treat trichomoniasis during the first trimester of pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant.

Not all uses of metronidazole are approved for treating children and teenagers. Metronidazole is not approved to treat vaginal infections in girls who have not begun having menstrual periods.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
  • a heart rhythm disorder;
  • a stomach or intestinal disease such as Crohn's disease;
  • a blood cell disorder such as anemia (lack of red blood cells) or low white blood cell (WBC) counts;
  • a fungal infection anywhere in your body; or
  • a nerve disorder.

Metronidazole has caused cancer in animal studies. However, it is not known whether this would occur in humans. Ask your doctor about your risk.

You should not breastfeed within 24 hours after using metronidazole. If you use a breast pump during this time, throw out the milk and do not feed it to your baby.

How should I use metronidazole?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Metronidazole oral is taken by mouth.

Metronidazole injection is given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection if you are unable to take the medicine by mouth.

Shake the oral suspension (liquid). Measure a dose with the supplied measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).

Swallow the extended-release tablet whole and do not crush, chew, or break it.

If you are treating a vaginal infection, your sexual partner may also need to take metronidazole so you don't become reinfected.

Metronidazole is usually given for up to 10 days in a row. You may need to repeat this dosage several weeks later.

Keep using this medicine even if your symptoms quickly improve. Skipping doses could make your infection resistant to medication. Metronidazole will not treat a viral infection (flu or a common cold).

Metronidazole will not treat a vaginal yeast infection. You may even develop a new vaginal yeast infection, which may need to be treated with antifungal medication. Tell your doctor if you have symptoms such as itching or discharge during or after treatment with metronidazole.

Do not share this medicine with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have.

This medicine can affect the results of certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using metronidazole.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

QUESTION

Bowel regularity means a bowel movement every day. See Answer
Flagyl Patient Information including If I Miss a Dose

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, numbness, tingling, or problems with balance or muscle movement.

What should I avoid while using metronidazole?

While taking metronidazole and for 3 days after your last dose: Do not drink alcohol or consume foods, medicines, or other products that contain alcohol or propylene glycol. You may have unpleasant effects such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and warmth or tingling under your skin.

What other drugs will affect metronidazole?

Sometimes it is not safe to use certain medicines at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other drugs you use, which may increase side effects or make the medicines less effective.

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines. Many drugs can affect metronidazole, especially:

This list is not complete and many other drugs may affect metronidazole. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about metronidazole.


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.

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