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An Overview of Clarithromycin (Biaxin)

October 5, 2012


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 -- caused by specific types of bacteria. Clarithromycin is also FDA-approved to prevent and treat Mycobacterium avium (MAC) disease.

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."

What HIV-related opportunistic infections is clarithromycin used for?

The Guidelines for Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents, prepared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), includes recommendations on the HIV-related uses of clarithromycin to:

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:

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