Bladder Home > Precautions and Warnings With Nitrofurantoin

In rare cases, serious liver problems have been reported in people taking nitrofurantoin. Other precautions and warnings apply to women who are near the end of pregnancy, people with anemia, and people who take this medicine long-term (they should have their kidney function monitored regularly). You shouldn't take nitrofurantoin if you have severe kidney problems or allergies to any of the drug's ingredients.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk to your healthcare provider prior to taking nitrofurantoin (Furadantin®, Macrobid®, Macrodantin®) if you have:
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency
  • An electrolyte imbalance
  • Anemia
  • Vitamin B deficiency
  • Any allergies, including to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you may be taking, including prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Nitrofurantoin Precautions and Warnings

Precautions and warnings to be aware of prior to taking nitrofurantoin include the following:
  • Serious lung problems have occurred in people taking nitrofurantoin, which is the active ingredient in Furadantin, Macrobid, and Macrodantin. Such problems are rare but are more common in people taking the drug for six months or longer.
People who take this medication long-term should have their lungs monitored carefully. Be sure to report any lung symptoms, such as shortness of breath or an unexplained cough, to your healthcare provider right away.
  • Nitrofurantoin can cause nerve problems, which can be quite serious. Let your healthcare provider know if you experience any unusual sensations (such as burning, numbness, or tingling), especially in the hands or feet. People with poor kidney function, anemia, diabetes, an electrolyte imbalance, or a vitamin B deficiency may be more likely to experience such nerve problems.
  • In rare cases, people taking nitrofurantoin have experienced liver damage, including fatal liver problems. If you take this medication long-term (or frequently), your healthcare provider may want to monitor your liver function.
  • People who take this drug long-term should have their kidney function monitored regularly (using a simple blood test).
  • There have been cases of hemolytic anemia (destruction of red blood cells) linked to nitrofurantoin, particularly in people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency.
  • Nitrofurantoin is considered a pregnancy Category B medicine. This means it is probably safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown. However, this medication is not recommended for women who are near the end of pregnancy (see Furadantin and Pregnancy, Macrobid and Pregnancy, or Macrodantin and Pregnancy for more information).
  • Many antibiotics have been known to cause pseudomembranous colitis (severe diarrhea). This is a serious condition that can potentially be fatal. If you experience severe, bloody, or prolonged diarrhea, contact your healthcare provider right away.
  • Nitrofurantoin can interact with certain medications (see Drug Interactions With Nitrofurantoin).
  • Nitrofurantoin passes through breast milk in trace amounts. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking this medicine (see Furadantin and Breastfeeding, Macrobid and Breastfeeding, or Macrodantin and Breastfeeding for more information).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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