Metronidazole is a kind of antibiotic which helps in curing bacterial infection in different areas of the body. It is the generic name of the antibiotic and it is commonly available as 'flagyl'. The antibiotic which comes in the form of capsules, suspension and tablets, is not available over-the-counter, but is available only on a doctor's prescription. The antibiotic is generally used in treating vaginal infections, bacterial infections of the stomach, skin, joints and respiratory tract. The drug, though an antibiotic, will not cure cold, flu and viral infections, and thus should not be used for same.
Apart from human beings, the antibiotic is also used in treating health problems in dogs and cats. Though safety of this drug can only be guaranteed by the doctor, it is as such not dangerous. But before using the antibiotic, tell your doctor all your health worries and history of any disease you had or have, so that it is easy for him / her to determine the safety of this drug for you specifically.
Is the Antibiotic Safe?
Though it is most commonly taken orally as a tablet, metronidazole could be taken intravenously also. It is also available in the form of cream, gels and emulsions. As is the case with any other drug, this antibiotic can also lead to many side effects with improper use, and so the medicine should be taken under proper prescription of a doctor only.
It has been found that consumption of alcohol on the day of taking this medicine has led to some visible and severe side effects, in other cases it has led to side effects even when alcohol was not consumed. Want to know what are the side effects? Though the side effects differ from patient to patient, some of the common severe side effects seen in patients are listed under. It is advised that you should stop the intake of this drug immediately if these side effects persist over a period of time, and consult your doctor immediately.
- Stomach ache
- Nausea, vomiting and headache
- Numbness or tingling of hands and feet
- Pain and weakness of hands and feet
- Loss of appetite
- Tightness in the chest
- Coordination is affected
- Unusual chills
- Swelling of mouth and face
- Vision problems
In rare cases, the side effects include, vaginal infection, skin rashes, mood swings accompanied by depression, seizures, high heart rate, etc. If taken intravenously, it can lead to pain over the region, swelling over the vein, and redness over the vein.
What about during pregnancy? Well, several studies have shown that the safety of this drug during pregnancy and in breastfeeding mothers is not guaranteed, and is controversial. During pregnancy, the use of this drug should generally be avoided, especially in the first trimester, as it could lead to abnormal bleeding, and in severe cases, a miscarriage. It is best to consult your doctor before using this drug in pregnancy.
The dosage of this drug differs from patient to patient, according to their health problems, age, etc. The common dosage for adults is 400mg or 500mg. Patients who have a history of certain diseases and disorders like leukopenia, optic neuropathy, seizures, liver diseases, and asthma, should be extra cautious with the use of this drug, as studies have shown that people suffering from these diseases are under increased risk from the side effects from this antibiotic.
The antibiotic can also lead to lowered sexual drive and reduced vaginal secretions, which can hamper smooth sexual intercourse. The dosage prescribed by the doctor should be properly followed and the dose should not be missed. One should also note that the side effects are not seen in each and every person, and wrong dosage and allergy to the antibiotic can lead to side effects too.
Everything is safe if followed under proper guidance and prescription. One should check the expiry date of the drug before using it, and also be frank with the doctor regarding all the health problems. Also, do not take the antibiotic under your own prescription. I repeat it again - consult the doctor before using it, and its safety is then guaranteed.