MSD Manual

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Brian J. Werth

, PharmD, University of Washington School of Pharmacy

Last full review/revision Jul 2020| Content last modified Jul 2020
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Nitrofurantoin is an antibiotic that is used only to prevent or treat uncomplicated bladder infections. How nitrofurantoin works is not fully understood, but it disrupts several bacterial processes.

Nitrofurantoin is taken by mouth.



Common Uses

Some 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 More About Some Causes of Anemia) because the drug may cause anemia (a low number of red blood cells).

Use of Nitrofurantoin During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Nitrofurantoin is not given to pregnant women when delivery is near nor during labor or delivery because, at this time, it can damage and destroy red blood cells in newborns, resulting in hemolytic anemia. (See also Drug Use During Pregnancy.)

Nitrofurantoin should not be taken during the first month of breastfeeding. (See also Drug Use During Breastfeeding.)

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