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What is Macrobid?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Macrobid® is an antibiotic medication available for treatment of urinary tract infections. Known by the generic name nitrofurantoin, this medication is available by prescription only and can treat a variety of bacteria known to infect the urinary tract. It is not as effective against kidney infections, making it important for a doctor to conduct a thorough patient evaluation before prescribing to make sure it is an appropriate medication. Some doctors may request a urine culture to check for antibiotic resistance before writing a prescription for Macrobid®.

This medication comes in the form of oral tablets. It interrupts chemical reactions inside the bacteria, causing them to die. The length of time needed for a course of treatment varies, and it is important to keep taking the medication until the course is done. Stopping early can contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance and the infection may return. Dose sizes vary, depending on the patient's age and weight, and this medication is safe for use in older adults, children, and pregnant women, although it cannot be given to infants.

Macrobid® needs to be taken with food to be most effective. The most common side effect is stomach upset. Patients may experience nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. More rarely, the medication can cause lung and kidney problems. These are more of a risk in older patients, especially if they take a long course of medication or must take multiple courses of Macrobid® to combat an infection. Symptoms like difficulty breathing, yellow skin, and changes in urine output can be a cause for concern.

Patients on Macrobid® will notice a darkening of their urine. This side effect can appear alarming, but it is normal. Patients should take note if the urine appears bloody, and should report difficulty passing urine to their doctors. Persistent aggressive side effects can also be a cause for concern, and it is a good idea to talk about them with a doctor. Issues like pain and soreness may be a sign of another underlying problem that the antibiotic will not resolve.

After a course of this medication, the doctor may request a urine sample to make sure the infection is completely cleared. If it is not, treatment options can include taking another round of medication, or switching antibiotics to see if another drug will be more effective. Patients with a history of urinary tract infections should make sure their doctors are aware of this at the outset, as this can impact decisions about what to prescribe and how long the patient should take the medication.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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