Who can take clarithromycin?

Things to tell your doctor before you take clarithromycin

It is important to tell your health professional if you:

  • are taking any other medicines
  • have a current illness
  • have any allergies to food or other medicines
  • have any long-term health conditions (e.g. heart, liver or kidney problems).

This will help your health professional decide if clarithromycin is suitable for you.

Heart problems

Clarithromycin can affect your heart rate, so you must tell your doctor if you have any heart problems (e.g. an irregular heart beat or arrhythmia).

Antibiotics and allergic reactions

If you or your child has ever had an allergic reaction when taking clarithromycin or any antibiotic in the past, you must tell your doctor. This may mean that you will not be able to take clarithromycin and will have to take an alternative type of antibiotic.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include:

  • hives (large, red raised areas on the skin)
  • swollen lips, tongue, or mouth
  • fever
  • breathing problems
  • fainting.

Can I take clarithromycin if I am pregnant?

It is important to tell your health professional if you are pregnant before taking clarithromycin.

Studies in animals have shown that clarithromycin may affect the development of unborn animals, but it is not known if this also happens in humans.

Can I take clarithromycin if I am breastfeeding?

Clarithromycin can be taken if you are breastfeeding, but it may cause diarrhoea in your baby.

Find out more about the infections clarithromycin is used for, and its side effects and interactions.

Phone for medicines information

Call NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) to get information about your prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines (herbal, ‘natural’, vitamins and mineral supplements) from a pharmacist. Your call will be answered by healthdirect Australia (except Queensland and Victoria).

  • Rossi S, ed. Australian Medicines Handbook [online]. Adelaide: AMH, July 2012.
  • Sweetman S, ed. Martindale: The complete drug reference [online]. London: Pharmaceutical Press (accessed 18 October 2011).
  • Antibiotic Expert Group. Therapeutic Guidelines: Antibiotic version 14; Clarithromycin. Melbourne: Therapeutic Guidelines Limited, 2012 (accessed 27 March 2012).