Clarithromycin to treat pneumonia, skin and ear problems

Biaxin (Clarithromycin) is a semi-synthetic macrolide antibiotic. It is effective against a wide variety of bacterial organisms, such as Haemophilus influenza, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Mycobacterium avium, and many others. Biaxin is one of Abbott Laboratories’ best-selling antibiotics!

Biaxin is also marketed as: Clamycin, Clarithromycin, Biaxin XL, Biaxin, Claripen, Fromilid.

Biaxin is manufactured by Abbott Laboratories.


Biaxin is used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections. This medication can also be used in combination with anti-ulcer medications to treat certain types of stomach ulcers. It may also be used to prevent certain bacterial infections. Biaxin is a macrolide antibiotic that works by stopping the growth of bacteria. This antibiotic only treats bacterial infections. It will not work for viral infections (e.g., the common cold, flu). Unnecessary use or overuse of any antibiotic can lead to its decreased effectiveness.

How to take

Take Biaxin by mouth with or without food. Biaxin works best if it is taken at the same time each day. Continue to take Biaxin even if you feel well. Do not skip any doses.

Side effects

Check with your doctor if any of these most common side effects persist or become bothersome:

  • Abnormal taste; diarrhea; headache; indigestion; nausea; stomach discomfort; vomiting.
  • Seek medical attention right away if any of these severe side effects occur:
  • Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); bloody stools; confusion; decreased urination; depression; emotional or mood changes; hallucinations; nightmares; severe diarrhea; severe stomach pain/cramps; trouble sleeping.


Before taking clarithromycin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other macrolide antibiotics (e.g., erythromycin, azithromycin); or if you have any other allergies.

This medication should be used with caution if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: liver or kidney disease; certain heart problems (e.g., QTc prolongation, bradycardia); mineral imbalance (e.g., low potassium or magnesium levels); or a family history of certain heart rhythm disorders (QTc prolongation).

This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Based on information for similar drugs, this medication may pass into breast milk. Therefore, consult your doctor before breast-feeding.


Biaxin should be avoided by patients known to be allergic to clarithromycin or other chemically similar macrolide antibiotics, such as erythromycin. When these two medications are co-administered, Biaxin can significantly increase blood levels of the active metabolite of terfenadine (Seldane). Erythromycin, another macrolide antibiotic structurally similar to clarithromycin, has been known to interact with astemizole (Hismanal), loratadine (Claritin), bromocriptine, warfarin (Coumadin), carbamazepine (Tegretol), cyclosporine, digoxin (Lanoxin), disopyramide (Norpace), ergotamine, lovastatin (Mevacor), phenytoin (Dilantin), theophylline, triazolam (Halcion), and valproate to alter the blood levels of these medicines. Whether Biaxin can interfere similarly with these medications is not clearly established.

Treatment with Biaxin and other antibiotics can alter the normal bacterial flora of the colon and permit overgrowth of C. difficile, a bacteria responsible for pseudomembranous colitis. Patients who develop pseudomembranous colitis as a result of antibiotic treatment can experience diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and sometimes even shock. Safe use with children has not been established. It is not habit-forming.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose of Biaxin, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.


Tablets and suspension should be stored at room temperature in a tightly closed container. The oral suspension should not be refrigerated.