An Overview of Clarithromycin (Biaxin)
July 21, 2016
Other Names: Biaxin, Biaxin Extended Release, Biaxin XL, clarithromycin extended release
What Is Clarithromycin?
Clarithromycin is an antibiotic prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat certain bacterial infections -- including pneumonia, pharyngitis (infection of the throat), acute sinus infections, and others -- that are caused by specific types of bacteria. Clarithromycin is also FDA-approved to prevent and treat Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) disease, another bacterial infection.
Disseminated MAC disease and certain bacterial respiratory diseases (such as pneumonia) are opportunistic infections. An opportunistic infection is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems -- such as those infected with HIV -- than in people with healthy immune systems.
Clarithromycin can also be used "off-label" to treat other opportunistic infections of HIV infection. "Off-label" use refers to use of an FDA-approved medicine in a manner different from that described on the medicine label. Good medical practice and the best interests of a patient sometimes require that a medicine be used "off-label." To learn more about opportunistic infections, read the AIDSinfo What is an Opportunistic Infection? fact sheet.
What HIV-Related Opportunistic Infections Is Clarithromycin Used For?
The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents, prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA-HIVMA), includes recommendations on the HIV-related uses of clarithromycin to:
The above list may not include all of the HIV-related uses of clarithromycin recommended in the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents. Some recommended uses, such as uses in certain rare circumstances, may have been omitted.
What Should I Tell My Health Care Provider Before Taking Clarithromycin?
Before taking clarithromycin, tell your health care provider:
Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from clarithromycin. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.
How Should I Take Clarithromycin?
Take clarithromycin according to your health care provider's instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much clarithromycin to take and when to take it. Before you start clarithromycin and each time you get a refill, read any printed information that comes with your medicine.
How Should Clarithromycin Be Stored?
Where Can I Find More Information About Clarithromycin?
More information about clarithromycin is available:
The above Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Granule, tablet, tablet (extended release).
This article was provided by AIDSinfo. Visit the AIDSinfo website to find out more about their activities and publications.