Nitrofurantoi: Uses, side effects, precautions

Nitrofurantoin is a prescription drug available from your pharmacy store only with the prescription of a qualified medical practitioner.

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Brand names available:

MARTIFUR tab® [Walter Bushnell], FURADANTIN tab® [GSK]

What is nitrofurantoin?

Nitrofurantoin (pronounced as: NYE troe fue RAN toin) is an antibacterial drug.

Common uses of nitrofurantoin:

Nitrofurantoin is used for both the treatment and prevention of Urinary tract infection.

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How to use nitrofurantoin:

Take Nitrofurantoin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you do not understand ask your pharmacist, nurse or doctor to explain them to you.

Take oral dose of Nitrofurantoin preferably with meals with 1 glass of water at regular intervals as prescribed by your doctor.

Avoid taking antacids containing aluminum, zinc, magnesium along with Nitrofurantoin as it decreases its absorption. However you may take it 2hr before or 2 hrs after taking Nitrofurantoin.

Do not skip any doses. Continue to take it even when you feel better.

You must complete the entire course of medication to get maximum benefit; else the infection will not clear completely and in due course result in development of resistance.

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What should I discuss with my doctor or pharmacist before taking Nitrofurantoin?

  • Inform your doctor if you are using any OTC or any prescription drugs like Probenecid, magnesium salicylate, antibiotic like sulfinpyrazone etc
  • Inform your doctor if you have following medical conditions as  Nitrofurantoin should be used cautiously  in the below mentioned conditions
1. Renal impairment
2. Anemia
3. Any Debilitating condition
4. Glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency
  • Nitrofurantoin is in the FDA pregnancy category B. This means that the animal and reproductive studies have shown that there is no harm to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or are planning for conception.
  • Do not use Nitrofurantoin during last trimester of pregnancy (34-42wks) near term as it may cause harm to the newborn(hemolytic anemia).
  • Nitrofurantoin passes into breast milk. Inform your doctor if you are breast feeding your child.

What is the dosage and what about if I miss the dose or overdose?


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Use as directed by your physician, your physician prescribes depending on the severity of disease.

Use the complete course of medication as prescribed by your physician even though you feel better after one or two days of usage of medication.

For detailed dosage information, consult your doctor who will prescribe you depending on the severity of the disease.

Missed dose:

If it is almost the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at same time to cover up the missed dose.


In case of overdose contact your nearest poison control centre or emergency medical centre for immediate care by physician. The overdose symptoms of Nitrofurantoin are nausea & vomiting.

Side effects of nitrofurantoin

Side effects:  Nitrofurantoin may causes following side effects like

When to consult the health expert

Consult your doctor immediately if notice following symptoms.

  • Allergic reaction like swollen lips, hives, difficulty in breathing, rashes peeling of skin, blistering etc
  • Shortness of breath even with mild exertion, chest pain
  • Severe diarrhea associated with bloody stools
  • Fatigue, pale skin
  • Fever, chills, sore throat
  • Decrease in the amount of urine passed or no urine
  • Jaundice (yellowish discoloration of skin, eyes)
  • Tingling and numbness in extremities

Storage information for nitrofurantoin:

Store at room temp (15 – 30 degrees C). Avoid excessive heat, moisture or direct sunlight, never store in the bathroom.

Keep it out of reach of children. Make sure that any leftover portion is disposed off safely.

Additional information for nitrofurantoin:

Antibiotics usually cause mild diarrhea. Consult your doctor immediately if it is severe, associated with mucus or bloody stools, as it could be sign of new infection or pseudomembranous colitis.

Inform your lab personnel If you are a diabetic on Nitrofurantoin prior to the test as it may cause false result in certain urine glucose test.

Nitrofurantoin causes brownish discoloration of urine as side effect which is harmless and subsides when the drug is stopped.

Nitrofurantoin can cause drowsiness and impair thought process. Avoid activities which require you to be alert.

Regular monitoring of renal function is required when Nitrofurantoin is used for prolonged period to look for side effects.

It is imp to read manufacturing packaging instruction carefully if available and always do not hesitate to consult pharmacist or physician for any information.

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