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Questions & Answers
Side Effects & Adverse Reactions
CLARITHROMYCIN SHOULD NOT BE USED IN PREGNANT WOMEN EXCEPT IN CLINICAL CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE NO ALTERNATIVE THERAPY IS APPROPRIATE. IF PREGNANCY OCCURS WHILE TAKING THIS DRUG, THE PATIENT SHOULD BE APPRISED OF THE POTENTIAL HAZARD TO THE FETUS. CLARITHROMYCIN HAS DEMONSTRATED ADVERSE EFFECTS OF PREGNANCY OUTCOME AND/OR EMBRYO-FETAL DEVELOPMENT IN MONKEYS, RATS, MICE, AND RABBITS AT DOSES THAT PRODUCED PLASMA LEVELS 2 TO 17 TIMES THE SERUM LEVELS ACHIEVED IN HUMANS TREATED AT THE MAXIMUM RECOMMENDED HUMAN DOSES (see PRECAUTIONS, Pregnancy).
Hepatic dysfunction, including increased liver enzymes, and hepatocellular and/or cholestatic hepatitis, with or without jaundice, has been reported with clarithromycin. This hepatic dysfunction may be severe and is usually reversible. In some instances, hepatic failure with fatal outcome has been reported and generally has been associated with serious underlying diseases and/or concomitant medications. Symptoms of hepatitis can include anorexia, jaundice, dark urine, pruritus, or tender abdomen. Discontinue clarithromycin immediately if signs and symptoms of hepatitis occur.
Clarithromycin has been associated with prolongation of the QT interval and infrequent cases of arrhythmia. Cases of torsades de pointes have been spontaneously reported during postmarketing surveillance in patients receiving clarithromycin. Fatalities have been reported. Clarithromycin should be avoided in patients with ongoing proarrhythmic conditions such as uncorrected hypokalemia or hypomagnesemia, clinically significant bradycardia (see CONTRAINDICATIONS) and in patients receiving Class IA (quinidine, procainamide) or Class III (dofetilide, amiodarone, sotalol) antiarrhythmic agents. Elderly patients may be more susceptible to drug-associated effects on the QT interval.
Serious adverse reactions have been reported in patients taking clarithromycin concomitantly with CYP3A4 substrates. These include colchicine toxicity with colchicine; rhabdomyolysis with simvastatin, lovastatin, and atorvastatin; and hypotension and acute kidney injury with calcium channel blockers metabolized by CYP3A4 (e.g., verapamil, amlodipine, diltiazem, nifedipine). Most reports of acute kidney injury with calcium channel blockers metabolized by CYP3A4 involved elderly patients 65 years of age or older (see CONTRAINDICATIONS and PRECAUTIONS -Drug Interactions). Clarithromycin should be used with caution when administered concurrently with medications that induce the cytochrome CYP3A4 enzyme (see PRECAUTIONS, Drug Interactions).
Life-threatening and fatal drug interactions have been reported in patients treated with clarithromycin and colchicine. Clarithromycin is a strong CYP3A4 inhibitor and this interaction may occur while using both drugs at their recommended doses. If coadministration of clarithromycin and colchicine is necessary in patients with normal renal and hepatic function, the dose of colchicine should be reduced. Patients should be monitored for clinical symptoms of colchicine toxicity. Concomitant administration of clarithromycin and colchicine is contraindicated in patients with renal or hepatic impairment (see CONTRAINDICATIONS and PRECAUTIONS, Drug Interactions).
Increased sedation and prolongation of sedation have been reported with concomitant administration of clarithromycin and triazolobenzodiazepines, such as triazolam, and midazolam.
Oral Hypoglycemic Agents/Insulin
The concomitant use of clarithromycin and oral hypoglycemic agents and/or insulin can result in significant hypoglycemia. With certain hypoglycemic drugs such as nateglinide, pioglitazone, repaglinide and rosiglitazone, inhibition of CYP3A enzyme by clarithromycin may be involved and could cause hypoglycemia when used concomitantly. Careful monitoring of glucose is recommended.
There is a risk of serious hemorrhage and significant elevations in INR and prothrombin time when clarithromycin is coadministered with warfarin. INR and prothrombin times should be frequently monitored while patients are receiving clarithromycin and oral anticoagulants concurrently.
HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (statins)
Concomitant use of clarithromycin with lovastatin or simvastatin is contraindicated (see CONTRAINDICATIONS) as these statins are extensively metabolized by CYP3A4, and concomitant treatment with clarithromycin increases their plasma concentration, which increases the risk of myopathy, including rhabdomyolysis. Cases of rhabdomyolysis have been reported in patients taking clarithromycin concomitantly with these statins. If treatment with clarithromycin cannot be avoided, therapy with lovastatin or simvastatin must be suspended during the course of treatment.
Caution should be exercised when prescribing clarithromycin with statins. In situations where the concomitant use of clarithromycin with atorvastatin or pravastatin cannot be avoided, atorvastatin dose should not exceed 20 mg daily and pravastatin dose should not exceed 40 mg daily. Use of a statin that is not dependent on CYP3A metabolism (e.g., fluvastatin) can be considered. It is recommended to prescribe the lowest registered dose if concomitant use cannot be avoided.
Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea (CDAD) has been reported with use of nearly all antibacterial agents, including clarithromycin, and may range in severity from mild diarrhea to fatal colitis. Treatment with antibacterial agents alters the normal flora of the colon leading to overgrowth of C. difficile.
C. difficile produces toxins A and B which contribute to the development of CDAD. Hypertoxin producing strains of C. difficile cause increased morbidity and mortality, as these infections can be refractory to antimicrobial therapy and may require colectomy. CDAD must be considered in all patients who present with diarrhea following antibiotic use. Careful medical history is necessary since CDAD has been reported to occur over two months after the administration of antibacterial agents.
If CDAD is suspected or confirmed, ongoing antibiotic use not directed against C. difficile may need to be discontinued. Appropriate fluid and electrolyte management, protein supplementation, antibiotic treatment of C. difficile, and surgical evaluation should be instituted as clinically indicated.
Acute Hypersensitivity Reactions
In the event of severe acute hypersensitivity reactions, such as anaphylaxis, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS), and Henoch-Schonlein purpura clarithromycin therapy should be discontinued immediately and appropriate treatment should be urgently initiated.
Combination therapy with other drugs
For information about warnings of other drugs indicated in combination with clarithromycin, refer to the WARNINGS section of their package inserts.
There is currently no legal information available for this drug.
FDA Safety Alerts
There are currently no FDA safety alerts available for this drug.
There is currently no manufacturer warning information available for this drug.
FDA Labeling Changes
There are currently no FDA labeling changes available for this drug.
Clarithromycin tablets USP are indicated for the treatment of mild to moderate infections caused by susceptible isolates of the designated bacteria in the conditions as listed below:
Pharyngitis/Tonsillitis due to Streptococcus pyogenes (The usual drug of choice in the treatment and prevention of streptococcal infections and the prophylaxis of rheumatic fever is penicillin administered by either the intramuscular or the oral route. Clarithromycin is generally effective in the eradication of S. pyogenes from the nasopharynx; however, data establishing the efficacy of clarithromycin in the subsequent prevention of rheumatic fever are not available at present).
Acute maxillary sinusitis due to Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, or Streptococcus pneumoniae.
Acute bacterial exacerbation of chronic bronchitis due to Haemophilus influenzae, Haemophilus parainfluenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, or Streptococcus pneumoniae.
Community-Acquired Pneumonia due to Haemophilus influenzae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, or Chlamydophila pneumoniae (TWAR).
Uncomplicated skin and skin structure infections due to Staphylococcus aureus, or Streptococcus pyogenes (Abscesses usually require surgical drainage).
Disseminated mycobacterial infections due to Mycobacterium avium, or Mycobacterium intracellulare.
Clarithromycin tablets USP in combination with amoxicillin and lansoprazole or omeprazole delayed-release capsules, as triple therapy, are indicated for the treatment of patients with Helicobacter pylori infection and duodenal ulcer disease (active or five-year history of duodenal ulcer) to eradicate H. pylori.
Clarithromycin tablets USP in combination with omeprazole capsules or ranitidine bismuth citrate tablets are also indicated for the treatment of patients with an active duodenal ulcer associated with H. pylori infection. However, regimens which contain clarithromycin as the single antimicrobial agent are more likely to be associated with the development of clarithromycin resistance among patients who fail therapy. Clarithromycin-containing regimens should not be used in patients with known or suspected clarithromycin resistant isolates because the efficacy of treatment is reduced in this setting.
In patients who fail therapy, susceptibility testing should be done if possible. If resistance to clarithromycin is demonstrated, a non-clarithromycin-containing therapy is recommended (for information on development of resistance see Microbiology section). The eradication of H. pylori has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of duodenal ulcer recurrence.
Pharyngitis/Tonsillitis due to Streptococcus pyogenes.
Community-Acquired Pneumonia due to Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, or Chlamydophila pneumoniae (TWAR)
Acute maxillary sinusitis due to Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, or Streptococcus pneumoniae
Acute otitis media due to Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, or Streptococcus pneumoniae
NOTE: For information on otitis media, see CLINICAL STUDIES, Otitis Media.
Uncomplicated skin and skin structure infections due to Staphylococcus aureus, or Streptococcus pyogenes (Abscesses usually require surgical drainage.)
Disseminated mycobacterial infections due to Mycobacterium avium, or Mycobacterium intracellulare
Clarithromycin tablets USP are indicated for the prevention of disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) disease in patients with advanced HIV infection.
To reduce the development of drug-resistant bacteria and maintain the effectiveness of clarithromycin and other antibacterial drugs, clarithromycin should be used only to treat or prevent infections that are proven or strongly suspected to be caused by susceptible bacteria. When culture and susceptibility information are available, they should be considered in selecting or modifying antibacterial therapy. In the absence of such data, local epidemiology and susceptibility patterns may contribute to the empiric selection of therapy.
There is currently no drug history available for this drug.
Clarithromycin, USP is a semi-synthetic macrolide antibiotic. Chemically, it is 6-O-methylerythromycin. The structural formula is:
C38H69NO13 M.W. 747.96
Clarithromycin, USP is a white to off-white crystalline powder. It is soluble in acetone, slightly soluble in methanol, ethanol, and acetonitrile, and practically insoluble in water.
Clarithromycin is available as immediate-release tablets.
Each yellow, film-coated, oval-shaped clarithromycin tablet USP for oral administration contains 250 mg of clarithromycin, USP and each light-yellow, film-coated, oval-shaped clarithromycin tablet for oral administration contains 500 mg of clarithromycin, USP. Each tablet of both strengths contains the following inactive ingredients: colloidal silicon dioxide, croscarmellose sodium, D&C Yellow #10 aluminum lake, FD&C blue #2 indigo carmine aluminum lake, FD&C red #40 allura red AC aluminum lake, hypromellose, magnesium hydroxide, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, povidone, sodium starch glycolate, stearic acid, titanium dioxide, and vanillin.