Flagyl, an antibiotic, is used to treat various infections in the body including those of the skin, gut areas, pelvic cavity, brain abcesses, leg ulcers, pressure sores, gums, osteomyelitis, and necrotizing pneumonia. Generic Metronidazole, the medicinal compound in Flagyl, destroys the DNA function in vulnerable anaerobic bacteria and protozoa. The medicine is effectively used in the prevention of infection following a surgical procedure, particularly after childbirth. It is also used to cure bacterial Vaginosis, urogenital Trichomoniasis, and Amoebic Dysentery.
Generic Metronidazole in Flagyl, belongs to the antibiotic class of drugs called nitroimidazoles, and is used to treat infections caused by anaerobic bacteria [that do not need oxygen to survive] and micro-organisms called protozoa. Metronidazole is believed to disable the DNA synthesis in the susceptible bacteria, thereby preventing functioning of the existing bacteria and inhibiting further development.
Flagyl has been found to be extremely effective when used in the prevention and treatment of infections following gynaecological surgery such as Puerperal fever or Sepsis that can occur after childbirth, or Giardiasis that is a gut infection. This medicine is equally effective in treating Septicaemia [blood poisoning], Brain abcesses, Necrotizing Pneumonia, Osteomyelitis [infection in the bones], Pelvic abcesses, Peritonitis [abdominal infection], Bacterial Vaginosis [vaginal infection caused by bacteria], Urogenital Trichomoniasis [a sexually transmitted genital infection], and Amoebic Dysentery [a protozoal infection]. The medicine helps to cure Dental infections, Ulcerative Gingivitis [gum inflammation and ulcers], and bacteria-infected leg ulcers as well as pressure sores.
Flagyl Generic is an oral medication, though for serious infections, Metronidazole is administered intravenously in the beginning, followed by the oral treatment. The dosage may vary according to the infection, as in treating infection of brain abcesses, when a high dose has to be given. The medicine is given according to the patient’s medical condition and should be taken as advised by the doctor. It is recommended that the medicine should not be chewed, but swallowed with a lot of water; it can be taken regardless of food. Even if you feel better soon, the entire therapy must be taken, as antibiotics often help to make one feel better quickly, but if the course is not completed, you run the risk of the infection returning. While on this treatment, and for at least 48 hours later, you should not consume alcohol, otherwise you may experience a great deal of discomfort from nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, headache, in addition to flushing.
Before the physician puts you on to Flagyl, let the doctor know about all the ailments you’ve suffered from; all the medicines [prescription, OTC], nutritional supplements, herbal products you’re taking; and if you have any known allergies, particularly to Metronidazole or any Nitroimidazole derivative. Let the treating doctor know if you have a decreased liver function, Hepatic Encephalopathy [a brain disease caused by an underlying liver problem], Seizures, Crohn’s disease, Prophyrias [an inherited blood disorder], Anemia [inadequate number of red blood cells], or Leukopenia [inadequate number of white blood cells]. The doctor has to know about all your medicines, so that the correct dose can be worked out, and lab tests be instituted, wherever necessary, to monitor your condition.
For Amoebic Dysentery, or an Amoebic abcess in the liver, the dose varies but is usually administered from 5-10 days. Flagyl is recommended in pediatrics only for treatment of Amoebiasis – for children who have such problems, normally 3 doses are given for a period of 10 days. As plasma clearance decreases in patients having a decreased liver function, geriatrics have to undergo lab tests for monitoring of serum levels, so that they get just the right dose of the medicine.
To treat very severe anaerobic infections, Flagyl is usually administered intravenously at the beginning, followed with an oral dose every 6 hours [dependent upon weight], lasting 7-10 days. In the treatment of infections of the bones, joints, lower respiratory tract, and endocardium, the therapy can extend beyond the usual 10 days, and the dosage pattern can vary. Those who suffer from a serious hepatic disease are given low doses of Flagyl, to prevent accumulation of Metronidazole in the plasma.
There are a large number of drugs that interact with Metronidazole. If taken together with anticoagulants [Warfarin, Nicoumalone], there can be adverse effects – the risk of bleeding may increase in such patients. Antiepileptic medicines like Phenobarbital can render Flagyl less effective. Those taking Flagyl with Ciclosporin, or Lithium, will have to get their blood levels and kidney function checked from time-to-time; while those who take Metronidazole with Fluorouracil [an anti-cancer medicine] can find an increase in the side-effects caused by Flourouracil, though Flagyl does not reduce the anti-cancer effect. If taken with Phenytoin, Flagyl is capable of increasing blood levels that will have to be monitored.
Metronidazole is not recommended for patients on Disulfram treatment, as the two taken together tend to enhance psychotic symptoms, adversely affecting paranoia and bring about hallucinations, unless 2 weeks have passed since the patient last took Disulfram.
Some side-effects that commonly occur include nausea, vomiting, headache, stomachache/abdominal cramps, epigastric discomfort [due to feeling of fullness in the throat/esophagus], diarrhea, or conversely constipation, a distinct unpleasant taste, hives, rash, dryness of mouth or vagina, incontinence, or pelvic pressure. If any of these symptoms worsen or persist, then you must contact your doctor at once. Severe allergic reactions to Flagyl are unlikely, but can include the usual reactions, like: rash, itching, swelling, laboured breathing, or severe dizziness.
Serious but unlikely side effects may occur if Flagyl is administered for a prolonged period, such as: convulsive seizures, peripheral neuropathy [numbness/tingling of hands/feet], mood changes, painful urination, white patches in the mouth, or a new vaginal yeast infection; or should you happen to experience a rare but serious side-effect that may present itself in the form of a sore throat, unusual bleeding/bruising, or fever, then in any such condition, you must immediately inform your physician who will give further advice. However, most people who are being treated with Flagyl, do not experience severe side effects.
Pregnant or lactating women should seek the doctor’s advice before taking Flagyl, so should those who are planning to conceive. For treatment of Trichomoniasis, pregnant patients are not given the drug in the first trimester, while for those for whom an alternative treatment has not yielded good results, the 1-day therapy cannot be given as it causes abnormally high serum levels that can affect the circulation in their fetus, for Metronidazole is known to cross the placental barrier. Dosage regimen for women and men having Trichomoniasis is based on the medical condition of the patient.
Women who are taking an oral Birth Control pill or using contraceptive patches, face a low risk of an unwanted pregnancy if administered Metronidazole; but to avoid even this low risk, it is recommended that such women should use an extra method to prevent childbirth while taking Flagyl, without a break, and continue with that for a week after the Flagyl therapy has ended. The gynaecologist or physician should be consulted for individualized advice.
The medicine in tablet formulation must be stored below a room temperature of 25oC, protected from light, heat and dampness; and kept away from children and pets.
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