Nitrofurantoin is an antibiotic Overview of Antibiotics Antibiotics are drugs used to treat bacterial infections. They are not effective against viral infections and most other infections. Antibiotics either kill bacteria or stop them from reproducing... read more that is used only to prevent or treat uncomplicated bladder infections Bladder Infection Cystitis is infection of the bladder. Usually, bacteria are the cause of cystitis. A frequent need to urinate and pain or burning while urinating are the most common symptoms. Doctors can often... read more . How nitrofurantoin works is not fully understood, but it disrupts several bacterial processes.
Nitrofurantoin is taken by mouth.
Some Potential Side Effects
Nausea and vomiting
Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy)
Doctors do not give nitrofurantoin to people whose kidneys are not functioning well. Nitrofurantoin should not be given to people who have a red blood cell disorder called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency (see table ) because the drug may cause anemia Overview of Anemia Anemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells is low. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that enables them to carry oxygen from the lungs and deliver it to all parts... read more (a low number of red blood cells).
(See also Overview of Antibiotics Overview of Antibiotics Antibiotics are drugs used to treat bacterial infections. They are not effective against viral infections and most other infections. Antibiotics either kill bacteria or stop them from reproducing... read more .)
Use of Nitrofurantoin During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Nitrofurantoin is not given to pregnant women when delivery is near nor is it given during labor or delivery because, at this time, it can damage and destroy red blood cells in newborns, resulting in hemolytic anemia Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn Hemolytic disease of the newborn is a condition in which red blood cells are broken down or destroyed by the mother's antibodies. Hemolysis is the breakdown of red blood cells. This disorder... read more . (See also Drug Use During Pregnancy Drug Use During Pregnancy More than 50% of pregnant women take prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter) drugs or use social drugs (such as tobacco and alcohol) or illicit drugs at some time during pregnancy... read more .)
Nitrofurantoin should not be taken during the first month of breastfeeding. (See also Drug Use During Breastfeeding Drug Use During Breastfeeding When mothers who are breastfeeding have to take a drug, they wonder whether they should stop breastfeeding. The answer depends on the following: How much of the drug passes into the milk Whether... read more .)