Clarithromycin: What is it? Uses, Precautions, Administration and Dosage

It is prescribed to treat bacterial infections such as respiratory infections, ear infections and skin infections.

It can be taken by adults and children. It works by stopping the multiplication of the bacteria that cause the infection.

Clarithromycin belongs to the group of medicines called macrolide antibiotics . It is used to treat infections caused by certain bacteria. It works by killing or stopping the growth of bacteria that can cause certain infections.

Common uses

Clarithromycin can be prescribed to people with bacterial infections of the throat, sinusitis, otitis, bronchitis, pneumonia and skin infections such as impetigo and cellulitis.

Clarithromycin can also be used to prevent and treat certain infections, associated with infection with the human immunodeficiency virus ( HIV ). Clarithromycin can be used in combination with other medications to kill H. pylori, a bacterium known to cause ulcers in the digestive tract.

It is also given to get rid of Helicobacter pylori. This is the bacteria that is thought to cause stomach ulcers. If prescribed for this reason, you will also be prescribed other medications to take with you.


Before starting to take the antibiotic, read the manufacturer’s printed information brochure from inside the package. It will give you more information about Clarithromycin and will provide you with a complete list of the side effects you may experience when taking it.

Take Clarithromycin exactly as your doctor tells you to. Most forms of Clarithromycin are taken twice a day, in the morning and at night.

If you are given a modified release tablet (have an XL after the brand (eg, Klaricid XL®, Clarie XL®, Mycifor XL®), you only need to take one dose per day, since the medicine inside these Tablets are released slowly during the day.

Standard-release tablets, liquid medications and sachets can be taken before or after food. Modified-release tablets (these are the ones that are only taken once a day) should be taken after the meal.

Do not chew or break the modified-release tablets, as this will affect the way in which the medication they contain is released.

When Clarithromycin is prescribed for a child, the dose will depend on the child’s weight. Be sure to read the label carefully to measure the correct amount of medication.

If you have been given envelopes of Clarithromycin, open the envelope and mix the granules in a small glass of water before taking them.

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Try to take the right amount of dose each day, but do not take two doses at the same time to make up for one missed dose.

It is usual for a treatment cycle to last from 5 to 14 days. Even if you feel your infection has cleared, continue taking antibiotics until the course is over (unless your doctor tells you otherwise). This is to prevent the infection from coming back and is more difficult to treat.


Recommended doses:

  • Adults: The recommended dose for adults of Clarithromycin tablets is 250 mg to 500 mg twice a day (every 12 hours) for 7 to 14 days, depending on the condition being treated.

The recommended dose for adults of the prolonged-release form of Clarithromycin is 1,000 mg (2 tablets) once a day for 5 to 14 days, depending on the condition being treated.

For treatment and prevention, the usual dose of Clarithromycin is 500 mg twice a day. When used with other medications to kill H. pylori, the usual dose of Clarithromycin is 500 mg twice daily for 10 days.

  • Children: The total recommended daily dose for children is 15 mg per kilogram of body weight (up to a maximum of 1,000 mg per day). This total daily dose should be divided into 2 equal doses administered 12 hours apart.

The total duration of treatment is usually 5 to 10 days, depending on the condition being treated. For the treatment and prevention of MAC, the usual dose of Clarithromycin is 7.5 mg per kilogram of body weight twice a day (up to 500 mg twice a day).

If the child receives an oral suspension of Clarithromycin, use an oral syringe to measure each dose of liquid, as it provides a more accurate measurement than homemade spoons.

Clarithromycin tablets and Clarithromycin suspension (twice a day) can be taken with or without food. Taking this medicine with food may cause less stomach upset.

Clarithromycin extended-release tablets should be taken with food. The tablets should be swallowed whole and not crushed or broken.

Finish all this medication, even if you have started to feel better.