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Biaxin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic related to erythromycin. It is prescribed to fight respiratory tract infections including pneumonia and infections of the skin.

Side Effects and Interactions

The most frequent side effects involve digestive tract upset.

People taking Biaxin report fewer side effects than those on erythromycin, but diarrhea, nausea, abnormal taste, stomachache and upset stomach are potential reactions.

Headache has also been reported. Let your doctor know promptly of any symptoms you experience. Biaxin interacts with a few other medicines.

It may boost blood levels of the anti-seizure medication Tegretol by 60 percent or more, leading to increased toxicity.

The asthma drug theophylline, the blood thinner Coumadin and the anti-AIDS drug Retrovir (AZT) appear to interact with Biaxin.

It should not be taken by people who are also taking the antihistamines Seldane or Hismanal, as it could lead to a dangerous build-up of these drugs in the body.

Check with your pharmacist and physician to make sure Biaxin is safe in combination with any other drugs you take.

Special Precautions

Because Biaxin, like erythromycin, is eliminated from the body by the liver, this drug should be used very cautiously, if at all, by people with liver problems.

Anyone with a history of allergy to erythromycin-type antibiotics should probably avoid Biaxin. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, rash and itching.

In rare instances allergy may trigger life-threatening anaphylactic shock.

Pregnant women should avoid Biaxin unless the doctor finds no other appropriate therapy. This medication has caused birth defects in animal tests.

Taking the Medicine

Biaxin may be taken with or without food. Doses are usually spaced evenly throughout the day.

Check with your physician or pharmacist for specific instructions, and be sure to complete the full course of medication unless directed otherwise.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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