Nitrofurantoin - Benefits, dosage and side effects

Nitrofurantoin is an antibiotic drug used to treat urinary tract infections, including bladder inflammation (cystitis) or kidney infection.

Nitrofurantoin works by inhibiting the formation of proteins that make up bacterial cell walls. This drug also inhibits the formation of genetic material from bacterial cells. That way, the bacteria will die and the infection can be resolved.

Nitrofurantoin cannot be used to treat infections caused by viruses.  

Nitrofurantoin trademarks: Cleanaren, Nitrofurantoin, Urfadyn

What is Nitrofurantoin

groupPrescription drugs
BenefitOvercoming and preventing urinary tract infections
Used byAdults and children
Nitrofurantoin for pregnant and lactating womenCategory B:Animal studies have not shown any risk to the fetus, but there are no controlled studies in pregnant women.

However, this drug should not be used at 38–42 weeks of gestation.

Nitrofurantoin can be absorbed into breast milk. If you are breastfeeding, do not use this medicine without consulting your doctor first.

Drug formTablets, capsules, syrup

Warnings Before Taking Nitrofurantoin

The following are some things you should pay attention to before taking nitrofurantoin:

  • Tell your doctor about any allergies you have. Nitrofurantoin should not be used by patients who are allergic to this drug.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had severe kidney disease, severe liver disease, difficulty urinating, diarrhea, lung disease, G6PD deficiency, porphyria, peripheral neuropathy, vitamin B deficiency, diabetes, or electrolyte disturbances that have not been treated.
  • Tell your doctor if you plan to get vaccinated with a live vaccine, such as the typhoid vaccine, while you are being treated with nitrofurantoin, as this medicine may decrease the effectiveness of the vaccine.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking certain medications, supplements or herbal products,
  • See your doctor right away if you have an allergic drug reaction, overdose, or serious side effects after taking nitrofurantoin.

Dosage and Instructions for Use of Nitrofurantoin

The following are general doses of nitrofurantoin based on the goals of treatment and the age of the patient:

Purpose: Treatment of cystitis and urinary tract infections

  • Mature: 50–100 mg, 2–4 times daily. Treatment is carried out for 1 week or at least up to 3 days after being declared free of infection.
  • Children over 1 month old: 5–7 mg/kgBW per day, divided into 4 times the consumption schedule. The maximum dose is 400 mg per day. Treatment is carried out for 1 week or at least up to 3 days after the urine is sterile.

Purpose: Cystitis prevention

  • Mature: 50–100 mg, once daily at bedtime.
  • Children over 1 month old: 1-2 mg/kg body weight, 1-2 times a day. The maximum dose is 100 mg per day.

How to Take Nitrofurantoin Correctly

Always follow the doctor's advice and read the instructions on the medicine package before taking nitrofurantoin. Do not start or stop nitrofurantoin or increase or decrease the dose without consulting your doctor first.

Nitrofurantoin is taken after meals. Swallow the nitrofurantoin tablet or capsule whole with the help of a glass of water. Do not open capsules, crush, split, or chew nitrofurantoin tablets, as this may affect the effectiveness of the drug.

Before taking nitrofurantoin syrup, shake the medicine bottle first. Use the measuring spoon contained in the package to measure the dose of the drug. Do not take other measuring devices, such as tablespoons, because the dosage can be different.

If you forget to take nitrofurantoin, take it as soon as you remember if the distance to the next consumption schedule is not too close. If it is close, ignore it and do not double the dose. Tell your doctor if you frequently forget to take nitrofurantoin.

Store nitrofurantoin at room temperature, in a dry place, and away from direct sunlight. Keep this medicine out of reach of children.

Nitrofurantoin Interactions with Other Drugs

The use of niotrofurantoin with other drugs can cause several interactions, including:

  • Decreased absorption of nitrofurantoin when used with antacids containing magnesium trisilicate
  • Increased risk of poisoning or toxicity due to increased blood levels of nitrofurantoin, if used with probenecid or sulfinpyrazone
  • Increased risk of antagonistic effects of drugs when used with quinolone antibiotics
  • Decreased effectiveness of nitrofurantoin in treating bacterial infections when used with acetazolamide
  • Decreased effectiveness of norfloxacin or live vaccines, such as the polio vaccine and typhoid vaccine

Nitrofurantoin Side Effects and Dangers

There are several side effects that can occur after taking nitrofurantoin, namely:

  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting

Consult a doctor if these side effects do not improve or get worse. See your doctor right away if you have an allergic drug reaction or a more serious side effect, any of the following:

  • Lung disorders or damage, which can be characterized by symptoms such as a persistent cough, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or blue lips and fingertips
  • Liver disease, which can be characterized by dark urine, jaundice, or severe nausea and vomiting
  • Infectious disease, which can be characterized by fever or sore throat that does not improve
  • Fast heart rate or palpitations
  • Tingling, numbness in the hands and feet, or muscle weakness
  • Severe diarrhea, blood or mucus in the stool, or severe abdominal pain