Metronidazole is used to treat infections caused by bacteria. This medicine is prescription-only but is commonly available without a prescription. You should, however, only use it when prescribed by your healthcare provider.
Metronidazole is used to treat:
- Bacterial infections of the vagina and female reproductive organs.
- Infections of the stomach, ulcers, intestines and liver caused by bacteria.
- Infections of the skin and joints caused by bacteria.
- Bacterial infections of the brain, heart and chest.
Metronidazole (Flagyl) is a drug that stops the growth of bacteria in your body. It can treat a wide variety of infections caused by bacteria (e.g. H. pylori in stomach ulcers) and parasites. It will not work for viral infections (such as the common cold). Using any antibiotic when it is not needed can cause it no longer work properly to stop infections. This medicine is prescription-only.
Do not use this medicine if you have been drinking alcohol or have had an allergic reaction to it before.
- Metronidazole is available as tablets and liquid suspension to be taken by mouth. A vaginal gel, skin lotion and powder are available for application on the skin. An injectable solution is also available.
- Tablets may be coated to mask unpleasant taste should be swallowed whole. If a liquid preparation, shake the suspension to get an even mixture before measuring a dose.
- Use 200mg to 400mg every 8 hours or as directed by your healthcare provider.
- If you miss a dose, take the medication as soon as you remember. If the time for your next dose is near, skip the missed dose and continue with the next dose.
- Do not take more or less than your recommended dose.
- Go to the nearest health centre with the remaining drug if you have taken more than prescribed.
Most side effects disappear within three days, including:
- Difficulty passing stool or passing loose stool frequently.
- Upset stomach and an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
- You may vomit or feel like vomiting.
- Rashes or itching on your skin.
- Loss of appetite.
- Your urine may look darker or smell like the drug. This is not a cause for alarm, and the odour will go away when you stop taking the medicine.
Inform your healthcare provider if any of these or other symptoms do not go away after three days. Also, report immediately to your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following serious side effects:
- Signs of a new infection like a fever.
- Easy bruising and bleeding.
- Stomach and abdominal pain that is moderate to severe.
- Seizures, mood changes or trouble speaking.
- Sudden vision changes, eye pain and severe headache.
- Before taking metronidazole, inform your healthcare provider if you have any disease other than what you are being treated for by your healthcare provider. This will help them make a better choice when planning your treatment.
- Do not take metronidazole if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past.
- Do not use other drugs, supplements and herbal products with metronidazole without first confirming with your healthcare provider.
- Do not take metronidazole during the first trimester of your pregnancy. It can harm the unborn baby. You should let your healthcare provider know if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
- Metronidazole may cause some bacterial vaccines not to work as well. Do not have any immunizations/vaccinations while using this medication unless directed otherwise by your doctor.
- Do not give metronidazole to a child without medical advice.
- Avoid alcoholic drinks while taking metronidazole and for at least three days after you have stopped taking this medicine.