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How to take Metronidazole

27th August 2019

Metronidazole immediate-release tablet and extended-release tablet are prescription-only antibiotics to be taken by mouth. An immediate-release drug is released into the body immediately while an extended-release drug is released slowly into the body over time. Both the immediate-release and extended-release metronidazole are available as generic drugs, which cost less than the brand-name drugs. 

Metronidazole belongs to a class of drugs known as nitroimidazole antimicrobials. Antimicrobials are used for the treatment of infections. Nitroimidazole antimicrobials are used for the treatment of infections caused by bacteria and protozoa. The drug works by killing the bacteria and the organism that caused the infection. Such action relieves the infection.

Uses

Metronidazole immediate-release tablets are used for the treatment of various types of infection caused by bacteria or parasites, including infections that occur in the gastrointestinal tract or reproductive systems such as trichomoniasis and amebiasis. Metronidazole extended-release tablets are used to treat vaginal infections in women.

Metronidazole may be used alone or as part of combination therapy. When used as a part of combination therapy, other medications are also taken.

How to take Metronidazole

Your dosage, drug form, and the frequency of taking the drug will depend on the following:

  • Your age
  • The condition being treated
  • The severity of the condition
  • Your reaction to the initial dose
  • Other medical conditions you have

For protozoal and bacterial infections:

  • Immediate-release tablets - 250 mg or 500 mg

Bacterial infections:

  • Usual dose - 500 mg four times daily to be taken for 7 to 10 days. There are some types of infections that may require longer treatment.
  • Maximum dose - 4 g per day

Amoebic infections:

  • Usual dose - 500 mg or 700 mg thrice daily to be taken for 5 to 10 days

Trichomoniasis:

  • Usual dose - a single dose of 2 g or two divided doses of 1 g each daily, or 250 mg thrice daily for 7 days

Dosage for children between the ages of 0 and 17:

Amoebic infections:

  • Usual dose - 35 to 50 mg/kg of bodyweight daily in three divided doses for 10 days

Senior dosage for ages 65 years and older:

Older adults have kidneys that may not work as well as when they were younger. This can cause the body to process metronidazole more slowly, resulting in more drugs staying in the body for a longer time. This increases the risk of side effects. Your doctor may start older adults on a lowered dose or a different medication schedule in order to keep the levels of metronidazole from building up too much in the body.

For bacterial vaginosis:

Adult dosage for ages between 18 and 64:

  • Usual dosage - 750 mg daily for 7 days

Senior dosage for ages 65 years and older:

Older adults have kidneys that may not work as well as when they were younger. This can cause the body to process metronidazole more slowly, resulting in more drugs staying in the body for a longer time. This increases the risk of side effects. Your doctor may start older adults on a lowered dose or a different medication schedule in order to keep the levels of metronidazole from building up too much in the body.

Warnings about Metronidazole

Cancer was found in some animals during testing with metronidazole. Humans may have the same risk. Because of this, metronidazole should be used only to treat conditions that really require the drug.

To reduce the incidence of drug-resistant bacteria, metronidazole should be used only to treat or prevent infections that have been proven or strongly suspected to be caused by bacteria.

People with liver disease may process metronidazole more slowly. This will result in an increased amount of the drug in the body, raising the risk of side effects. Doctors generally lower the dosage of metronidazole for this group of users or have them take the drug less often.

People with kidney disease may process metronidazole more slowly. The kidneys help clear this drug from the body. Because unhealthy kidneys will be unable to process this drug as they should, it will raise the risk of side effects. Doctors generally lower the dosage of metronidazole for people with kidney disease or have them take the drug less often.

Metronidazole is classified as a category B pregnancy drug. Studies in pregnant animals have not shown risk to the fetus. However, there are not enough studies done in pregnant women to show if the drug will be risky to pregnant women.

Before you start taking metronidazole, inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. Metronidazole should not be taken on the first 3 months of pregnancy. For the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, metronidazole should be prescribed only when clearly needed.

Metronidazole may cause side effects in a nursing child when breastfed by a mother who is taking the drug. Consult your doctor if you have to stop taking metronidazole or stop breastfeeding.