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Metronidazole (Flagyl)

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Flagyl (Metronidazole)

Metronidazole or Flagyl, is one of many antibiotics used to treat a wide range of infections. It is highly effective and can help quickly relieve many symptoms associated with various illnesses.

Although it is a frequently prescribed medication because of how universal it is when it comes to infection, it doesn’t treat everything, and it has a few downfalls to coincide with its ample number of benefits.

Before requesting Flagyl from your doctor, check out this article where we take a deep dive into everything you need to know, ensuring it is the right antibiotic for your situation.

What is Flagyl and What Does it Treat?

Flagyl is a potent antibiotic used to treat various forms of bacterial infections. It is particularly beneficial in treating infections of the heart, bloodstream, vagina, stomach, joints, skin, liver, brain, spinal cord, joints, and lungs.

Doctors will prescribe Flagyl to treat some forms of sexually transmitted disease such as trichomoniasis, or an infection cause by a parasite.

Flagyl is also effective in treating infections in the intestines created by parasites, infection of the colon (amebic dysentery), or amebic liver abscess.

It is believed that metronidazole works by diffusing the cytoplasm of an anaerobic bacteria, then it is activated and transformed into a short-lived free radical,interacting with the bacterial DNA and killing it.

How Flagyl Works

Flagyl is most often taken orally and reaches peak concentration after only an hour or two. Even though it dissolves quickly and starts to work almost immediately, it can take a few days before you start to notice any improvement in your symptoms.

Metronidazole should be taken with a glass of water or other form of liquid and can be taken with or without food.

Always swallow your tablets whole, never crushing, breaking, or chewing them.

The dosage and length of time you should take Flagyl differs greatly depending on the person, the infection being treated, and the method you choose to take the medication.

The Most Common Side Effects of Metronidazole

Many people are unaware of the possible side-effects associated with antibiotics. While most of the more common side effects are mild and won’t last long, others can be more serious and will linger for days or even weeks.

Common side effects of Metronidazole include,

  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Metallic-like taste in your mouth

If these symptoms get worse or don’t go away over a few days, you should contact your doctor or pharmacist.

If you have any serious side effects, you should seek medical attention immediately. These include,

  • Signs of another infection starting
  • Sever stomach or abdominal pain.
  • Pain while urinating
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Sudden vision changes or eye pain
  • Severe headaches that don’t subside
  • Stiff neck
  • Mental or mood changes
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Unsteady on your feet.
  • Tingling or numbness in your arms or legs

An allergic reaction to this drug is rare yet possible. If you notice signs of an allergic reaction such as itching/swelling, trouble breathing, severe dizziness, or a rash, seek medication attention right away.

Drug and Product Interactions with Flagyl

It is critical that you discuss your current medication list and medical history with your treating doctor. Some medication and other products can be dangerous when combining with this antibiotic. Please let your doctor know if you have or have had liver disease, blood disorders, or kidney disease.

You should also use caution with some products that may interact with this medication including,

  • Lithium
  • Propylene glycol
  • Ritonavir solution/Lopinavir
  • Products that contain alcohol such as aftershave, cold and cough medications, etc.

Other prescriptions that can impact the use of metronidazole include,

  • Blood thinners (warfarin)
  • Some heart and blood pressure medications
  • Medicines that treat HIV, malaria, and other similar infections,
  • Cancer mediations like busulfan
  • Asthma medications such as albuterol
  • Antidepression medications such as escitalopram (Lexapro)

This is only a glimpse at the possible medications that can interact with metronidazole. Consult with your physician regarding any other medications you take (prescription or over the counter), herbal products, or vitamins.

Flagyl FAQs

Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Flagyl?

It is not recommended for any patient taking Flagyl to consume alcohol or products with alcohol in them. The reason you should not consume alcohol while taking this drug is due to the reaction that occurs when the two combine. Symptoms you may experience include committing, flushing, cramping, nausea, stomach cramps, and headaches.

Can You Take Flagyl While Pregnant?

Flagyl is considered safe to take during the second and third trimester of pregnancy. There are no known cases of metronidazole having a negative impact on a fetus. However, it is recommended woman avoid this drug if possible, during the first trimester as it may be linked to premature birth.

Can You stop Taking Flagyl Even if You Didn’t Finish the Entire Prescription?

You should never stop taking a prescription medication without first consulting your physician. Discontinuing Flagyl or any other antibiotic without finishing the entire script, even if you are feeling better, can cause the infection to come back and future infections to be anti-biotic resistant.

How Long Does It Take for Flagyl to Take Effect?

Metronidazole is quickly absorbed by the body and will take effect almost immediately after ingesting. While it will start to work within one to two hours, most people will not start to feel their symptoms ease for one to two days.

How Can You Obtain Flagyl Without a Prescription?

Because Flagyl is a type of oral antibiotic, you cannot purchase it without a prescription provided to you by a licensed medical practitioner. However, some forms of metronidazole branded under other names come in various forms like gels and topical creams where a prescription may not be needed.

How Much Flagyl Can an Adult Take in One Day?

You should always take your antibiotics exactly as prescribed by your doctor. The typical does if 35-50 mg per kg of body weight daily. It is usually divided into three doses to take each day for ten days. Adults should not take more than 750mg 3 times a day for five to ten days.