Nitazoxanide : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More
Why is this medication prescribed?
Nitazoxanide is used to treat diarrhea in children and adults caused by the protozoa Cryptosporidium or Giardia. Protozoa are suspected as the cause when diarrhea lasts more than 7 days. Nitazoxanide is in a class of medications called antiprotozoal agents. It works by stopping the growth of certain protozoa that cause diarrhea.
How should this medicine be used?
Nitazoxanide comes as a tablet and suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken with food every 12 hours for 3 days. Take nitazoxanide at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any parts you do not understand. Take nitazoxanide exactly as directed. Do not take more or less, or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Shake the suspension well before each use to mix the medicine evenly.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking nitazoxanide,
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to nitazoxanide or any other medications.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you closely for side effects.
- Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), problems with the immune system, or liver or kidney disease.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking nitazoxanide, call your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
To prevent dehydration caused by diarrhea, make sure you or your child drink enough. Take small frequent sips of water, fruit juice, sports drinks, or broth.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for the one you forgot.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Nitazoxanide may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- stomach pain
- upset stomach
- discolored urine
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- skin rash
Nitazoxanide may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medicine.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit a report online to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medicine in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of the reach of children. Store at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any unused nitazoxanide suspension after 7 days.
Unnecessary medications must be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and others cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medicine down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medications is through a drug take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage / recycling department to find out about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA Safe Drug Disposal website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children, as many containers (such as those containing weekly pills and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and small children can easily open them. To protect young children from poisoning, always close the safety caps and immediately place the medicine in a safe place, one that is upright and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, is having trouble breathing, or cannot wake up, immediately call 911 for emergency services.
What other information should I know?
Keep all your appointments with your doctor.
Patients with diabetes should know that there are 1.48 grams of sucrose in each teaspoon (5 ml) of nitazoxanide suspension.
Do not let anyone else take your medicine. Your prescription probably can’t be refilled. If you still have diarrhea after finishing nitazoxanide, call your doctor.
It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should take this list with you every time you visit a doctor or if you go into hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.
Disclaimer: We have made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.