Generic Biaxin (Clarithromycin): Macrolide antibiotic

  • Type of Drug: Macrolide antibiotic.
  • Prescribed for: Mild to moderate infections of the sinus, upper and lower respiratory tract infections and middle-ear infections in children. Clarithromycin is also prescribed in the treatment of some skin and other infections and in some infections associated with AIDS.

General Information

Clarithromycin is a member of the macrolide group of antibiotics. These medicines, which also include Erythromycin and Azithromycin, are either bactericidal (they kill the bacteria directly) or bacteriostatic (they slow the bacteria’s growth so that the body’s natural protective mechanisms can kill them). Whether these drugs are bacteriostatic or bactericidal depends on the organism in question and the amount of antibiotic present in the blood or other body fluid. They are effective against all varieties of organisms, with each of the macrolide antibiotics working against a somewhat different profile of bacteria.

Clarithromycin is rapidly absorbed into the blood and distributed through the bloodstream to all parts of the body. It is gentler on the digestive tract than Erythromycin.

Because the action of this antibiotic depends on its concentration within the invading bacteria, it is imperative that you follow your doctor’s directions regarding the spacing of doses as well as/the number of days you should continue taking the medication. The effectiveness of this antibiotic can be severely reduced if these instructions are not followed.

Cautions and Warnings

Do not take Clarithromycin if you’re allergic to it or any of the macrolide antibiotics.

Clarithromycin is primarily eliminated from the body through the liver and kidneys. People with severe kidney disease may require dosage adjustments. Liver disease generally does not require dose adjustments.

All antibiotics, including Clarithromycin, have been associated with a particular form of colitis (bowel inflammation). Diarrhea that begins after you start taking this drug may be an indication of this problem.

Generic Biaxin Possible Side Effects

Most side effects are mild and will go away once you stop taking Clarithromycin.

  • Most common: nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, taste distortions, stomach cramps, stomach gas, and headache. Colitis may develop after taking Clarithromycin.

Generic Biaxin Drug Interactions

  • Clarithromycin may increase the anticoagulant (blood- thinning) effects of Warfarin in people who take it regularly, especially older adults.
  • Clarithromycin may raise blood levels of Carbamazepine, in a manner similar to Erythromycin. People taking this combination should be carefully monitored by their doctors for changes in blood Carbamazepine levels.
  • Clarithromycin may raise blood levels of Theophylline, possibly leading to a Theophylline overdose. It can also increase the effects of caffeine, which is chemically related to Theophylline.
  • Clarithromycin may increase blood levels of Terfenadine, a nonsedating antihistamine broken down in the liver. This drug interaction may lead to serious cardiac toxicity and should be avoided.
  • Clarithromycin may increase blood levels of Digoxin.
  • Taking Clarithromycin with Zidovudine (AZT) can reduce the amount of Zidovudine in the blood.

Food Interactions

Clarithromycin can be taken without regard to food or meals.

Generic Biaxin Usual Dose

  • Adult: 250 to 500 mg every 12 hours. Dosage must be reduced in people with severe kidney disease.
  • Child: 3.4 mg per pound of body weight every 12 hours, up to 250 or 500 mg per dose, depending on the offending organism.


Clarithromycin overdose may result in exaggerated side effects, especially nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Call your local poison center or hospital emergency room for more information.

Generic Biaxin Special Information

Call your doctor if you develop nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, or severe abdominal pain.

Remember to complete the full course of treatment as prescribed by your doctor, even if you feel perfectly well after only a few days of Clarithromycin.

Because Clarithromycin is taken twice a day, you should take it at the same time each day to help you remember your medicine. But if you forget a dose of oral Clarithromycin, take it as soon as you remember. If it is within 4 hours of your next dose, skip the missing dose and go back to your regular schedule.

Special Populations


Animal studies have shown that Clarithromycin can have an effect on a developing fetus. Pregnant women should take Clarithromycin only if there is no alternative.

Clarithromycin passes into the breast milk of pregnant animals. Other macrolides pass into human milk, but it is not known if this is true of Clarithromycin. Nursing mothers should be cautious about taking this medicine.


Older adults should have their Clarithromycin dose adjusted with age-related changes in kidney function. Those with kidney disease should also take a reduced

Disclaimer: The information you can find in this article is presented purely for educational purposes. Any drugs and their exact dosages should be selected only after consulting a medical professional that is aware of your medical history. The article doesn’t offer in-depth information regarding Biaxin so it shouldn’t be used as a guideline in your treatment. Taking this drug without consulting a specialist can be dangerous and increase the risk of side effects. If you are interested in taking this medication, you may need to undergo a physical examination and perform laboratory tests to assess your current state of health. This site doesn’t bear responsibility for the information presented here and any instances that may arise from following these recommendations.