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Medically Approved

Macrobid side effects: A detailed guide

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More common side effectsMild side effectsSerious side effectsFAQSide effects in detailWarningsAsk your doctor
Macrobid oral capsule is prescribed for treating urinary tract infections (UTIs) caused by bacteria. It’s an antibiotic drug that may cause mild or serious side effects. These include nausea and headache.
Medically reviewed by Patricia Weiser, PharmD
Updated on December 8, 2023

This article describes possible side effects of Macrobid oral capsule. You can explore this overview article to learn more about Macrobid, including the drug’s uses, side effects, ways to save on cost, and more.

Macrobid is a brand-name medication that comes as a capsule that you swallow. It’s available in a generic version called nitrofurantoin (monohydrate/macrocrystals).

More common side effects of Macrobid

Macrobid oral capsule may cause mild or serious side effects. Below are some of the more common side effects of this medication.

Commonly reported side effects of Macrobid oral capsule include:

Mild side effects of Macrobid

Macrobid may cause certain mild side effects. Most often, mild side effects are temporary and can be easily managed. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have side effects that don’t go away or become bothersome.

Mild side effects of Macrobid oral capsule that occurred in studies include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects of Macrobid in detail” section below.

Macrobid may cause more mild side effects than those listed above. For details, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Serious side effects of Macrobid

Macrobid may cause certain serious side effects. If you have any serious side effects from Macrobid oral capsule, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency or your side effects feel life threatening, take immediate action. Call 911 or a local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room.

After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. Visit MedWatch’s website if you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Macrobid.

Serious side effects of Macrobid oral capsule that occurred in studies include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects of Macrobid in detail” section below.

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Common questions about side effects of Macrobid

Here are answers to some common questions about side effects of Macrobid oral capsule. If you have other questions, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

How long do side effects of Macrobid usually last?

It depends. Usually, side effects caused by Macrobid oral capsule are temporary and go away on their own in a few hours or days. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have side effects that bother you or don’t go away.

In rare cases, the drug may cause long-term side effects. See “Does Macrobid cause long-term side effects?” below for more information.

Is Macrobid safe for older adults?

It depends on your specific health history. In studies of Macrobid oral capsule, older adults (ages 65 years and above) did not experience different side effects compared to younger adults.

That said, older adults are more likely to have health conditions such as kidney or liver problems. This can raise your risk of side effects from taking Macrobid oral capsule. Older adults are also more likely to take multiple medications. This increases the risk of drug interactions with Macrobid, which could raise the risk of side effects.

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you’d like to learn more about your specific risk of side effects of Macrobid based on your age, health history, and other factors.

Can Macrobid cause anxiety or weight gain?

No, it’s not expected to. Neither anxiety nor weight gain were reported in studies of Macrobid oral capsule.

Depression and psychosis are very rare mental health side effects that can happen with Macrobid treatment. Feeling anxious could be a symptom of these side effects. But the drug isn’t expected to cause long-term anxiety as a side effect.

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have more questions about whether medications you take could affect your weight or mental health.

Does Macrobid cause long-term side effects?

Yes, in some cases, Macrobid oral capsule may cause long-term side effects. These can occur if you take the drug for a long time. Or they may last for a while after you’ve stopped taking the drug.

Examples of long-term side effects reported with Macrobid oral capsule include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects of Macrobid in detail” section below.

Talk with your doctor to learn more about these side effects and how to manage them. Ask your doctor for more information about how long these side effects of Macrobid may last.

Side effects of Macrobid in detail

Below you’ll find details on some of the side effects of Macrobid oral capsule.

Lung-related side effects

In studies, lung-related side effects were rare in people taking Macrobid oral capsule. These side effects may be serious or even life-threatening.

Lung-related side effects reported with Macrobid oral capsule include:

With interstitial pneumonitis, you have inflammation and damage in the lungs. With pulmonary fibrosis, you have stiffness and scarring in the lungs.

Symptoms of these lung-related side effects may include:

  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • cough
  • fever or chills
  • in severe cases, a bluish color to your skin, lips, or nails

Certain factors can increase the risk of lung-related side effects with Macrobid oral capsule. These include:

Ways to manage

If you experience symptoms of lung-related side effects, tell your doctor right away. They’ll likely recommend stopping treatment with Macrobid. Continuing to take Macrobid after symptoms of lung-related side effects appear increases the risks that symptoms won’t go away, even if treatment with Macrobid is stopped.

Peripheral neuropathy

In studies, peripheral neuropathy was rare in people taking Macrobid oral capsule. This side effect may be serious or even life threatening in extreme cases.

With peripheral neuropathy, you experience damage to nerves outside your brain or spinal cord.

Symptoms may include:

  • muscle cramps or twitching
  • a “pins and needles” tingling or prickling sensation
  • problems with balance or coordination

Certain factors can increase the risk of peripheral neuropathy with Macrobid oral capsule. These include:

In rare cases, symptoms may be irreversible even if you stop taking Macrobid.

Ways to manage

If you experience symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, tell your doctor right away. They’ll likely recommend stopping treatment with Macrobid.

If you take Macrobid long-term, your doctor will likely monitor your kidney function. This is because even a slight decrease in kidney function can raise the risk of peripheral neuropathy as a side effect of Macrobid.

Liver-related side effects

In studies, liver-related side effects were rare in people taking Macrobid oral capsule. These side effects may be serious or even life threatening.

Liver-related side effects reported with Macrobid include:

  • hepatitis (inflammation in your liver)
  • liver damage
  • cholestasis (reduced or blocked bile flow from the liver)

Symptoms may include:

  • jaundice (yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes)
  • dark-colored urine
  • abdominal pain
  • excessive itchiness

Ways to manage

If you experience symptoms of liver-related side effects, tell your doctor right away. They’ll likely recommend stopping treatment with Macrobid. They can also suggest treatment based on your specific liver-related side effects and symptoms.

Allergic reaction

For some people, Macrobid oral capsule can cause an allergic reaction.

Symptoms can be mild or serious, and they may include:

  • itchiness
  • skin rash
  • swelling under the skin, usually affecting eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of the mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)

Severe, life threatening allergic skin reactions, including exfoliative dermatitis and Stevens-Johnson syndrome are also possible with Macrobid. Symptoms of these reactions include:

  • discolored skin rash, which may appear red, purple, pink, or light brown
  • skin peeling, scaling, or blistering
  • general discomfort and muscle aches

These skin reactions require treatment at a hospital or emergency room right away.

Ways to manage

For mild allergic reaction symptoms, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may recommend treatments to help manage your symptoms. They’ll also let you know whether you should keep taking the medication.

For severe allergic reaction symptoms, such as swelling, trouble breathing, or severe allergic skin reactions, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms require immediate medical care because they can become life threatening. If you’ve had a serious allergic reaction to Macrobid oral capsule, your doctor may recommend taking a different medication instead.

Warnings for Macrobid

Below are some factors you may want to discuss with your doctor before taking Macrobid oral capsule.

Warnings

It may not be safe for you to take Macrobid oral capsule if you have specific health conditions. These are sometimes called drug-condition interactions. Other things may also affect whether Macrobid oral capsule is a safe treatment option for you.

Before taking Macrobid oral capsule, tell your doctor about your health and medications you take. Things to consider include:

Macrobid and pregnancy

It’s not known whether Macrobid oral capsule should be taken during pregnancy. If you’re planning a pregnancy or can become pregnant, talk with your doctor before using this medication.

Macrobid oral capsule should not be taken during pregnancy once the pregnancy is at term (weeks 38–42). It should also not be taken during labor and delivery. If you’re at this stage of pregnancy, your doctor will prescribe another treatment for your urinary tract infection (UTI) instead.

Macrobid and breastfeeding

Macrobid oral capsule should not be taken while breastfeeding. If you’re currently breastfeeding or planning to do so, talk with your doctor before using this medication. Your doctor may recommend other ways to feed your child during treatment with Macrobid.

Macrobid and alcohol

Macrobid oral capsule is not known to interact with alcohol.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about whether it’s safe to consume it during your treatment with Macrobid.

What to ask your doctor

This article describes common and serious side effects of Macrobid oral capsule. If your doctor prescribes this medication, they can discuss possible side effects with you. Let your doctor know if you have concerns or questions about treatment with this medication.

Here’s a list of some possible questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • Does Macrobid have similar side effects to other antibiotics that can treat urinary tract infections (UTIs)?
  • Based on my health history, will I be monitored more closely for side effects if I take Macrobid?
  • Do I have a higher risk of side effects from Macrobid compared to other people?
  • If I’m taking Macrobid in the short term, am I at lower risk of side effects?

Disclaimer: Optum Perks has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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