This information is intended for use by health professionals
Clarithromycin 125 mg/5ml suspension
After reconstitution 1 ml oral suspension contains 25 mg of clarithromycin,
5 ml oral suspension contain 125 mg of clarithromycin.
Excipient with known effect:
Each 5 ml ready-for-use suspension contains 2.4 g of sucrose.
For the full list of excipients, see section 6.1.
Granules for oral suspension.
White to beige granules.
Clarithromycin 125 mg/5 ml suspension is indicated in adults, adolescents and children, 6 months to 12 years, for the treatment of the following acute and chronic infections, when caused by clarithromycin susceptible organisms.
• Infections of the upper respiratory tract such as tonsillitis/pharyngitis, as an alternative when beta lactam antibiotics are not appropriate.
• Acute otitis media in children.
• Infections of the lower respiratory tract such as community acquired pneumonia.
• Sinusitis and acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis in adults and adolescents over 12 years of age
• Skin infections and soft tissue infections of mild to moderate severity.
In appropriate combination with antibacterial therapeutic regimens and an appropriate ulcer healing medicinal product for the eradication of Helicobacter pylori in adult patients with H. pylori associated ulcers. See section 4.2.
Consideration should be given to official guidance on the appropriate use of antibacterial agents.
The dosage of Clarithromycin 125 mg/5 ml suspension depends on the clinical condition of the patient and has to be defined in any case by the physician.
Adults and adolescents:
Standard dosage: The usual dose is 250 mg twice daily.
High dosage treatment (severe infections): The usual dose may be increased to 500 mg twice daily in severe infections.
Elimination of Helicobacter pylori in adults:
In patients with gastro-duodenal ulcers due to H. pylori infection clarithromycin as part of the first line triple therapy is given in a dosage of 500 mg twice daily. The national recommendations for Helicobacter pylori eradication have to be considered.
Dosage in patients with renal impairment:
The maximum recommended dosages should be reduced proportionately to renal impairment.
At creatinine clearance rate of less than 30 ml/min, the dosage should be halved to 250 mg daily or in the most severe infections to 250 mg twice daily. The duration of treatment should not exceed 14 days in these patients.
Children 6 months to 12 years of age:
The recommended dose is 7.5 mg/kg twice a day.
Weight Age Dosage
8 – 11 kg
1 – 2 years
2.5 ml twice daily
12 – 19 kg
2 – 4 years
5.0 ml twice daily
20 – 29 kg
4 – 8 years
7.5 ml twice daily
30 – 40 kg
8 – 12 years
10.0 ml twice daily
Children weighing less than 8 kg should be treated based on their bodyweight.
Clinical trials have been conducted using clarithromycin pediatric suspension in children 6 months to 12 years of age. Therefore, children under 12 years of age should use clarithromycin pediatric suspension (granules for oral suspension). There is limited experience of treatment of children below 6 months of age.
For the indication community acquired pneumonia effect in children under 3 years of age is not documented.
In patients with renal impairment with creatinine clearance less than 30 ml/min, the dosage of clarithromycin should be halved, i.e. 7.5 mg/kg once a day, and the duration of treatment should not exceed 14 days.
Duration of therapy:
The duration of therapy with Clarithromycin 125 mg/5 ml suspension depends on the clinical condition of the patient. The duration of therapy has in any case to be determined by the physician.
• The usual duration of treatment of children up to 12 years of age is 5 to 10 days.
• The usual duration of treatment of adults and adolescents is 6 to 14 days.
• Therapy should be continued at least for 2 days after symptoms have subsided.
• In Streptococcus pyogenes (as a beta-haemolytic streptococcal) infections the duration of therapy should be at least 10 days.
• Combination therapy for the eradication of H. pylori infection, e.g. clarithromycin 500 mg twice daily in combination with amoxicillin 1000 mg twice daily and omeprazole 20 mg twice daily should be continued for 7 days.
Method of administration:
Before administration the granules must be reconstituted with water, see section 6.6.
For administration after reconstitution an oral PE/PP-measuring syringe or a PP-measuring spoon are used.
Granules of the oral suspension can cause a bitter aftertaste when remaining in the mouth. This can be avoided by eating or drinking something immediately after the intake of the suspension
Clarithromycin may be given irrespective of food intake. Food does not affect the extent of bioavailability. Food does only slightly delay the onset of absorption of clarithromycin.
Hypersensitivity to the active substance or to any of the excipients listed in section 6.1.
Concomitant administration of clarithromycin and any of the following drugs is contraindicated: astemizole, cisapride, domperidone, pimozide and terfenadine, as this may result in QT prolongation and cardiac arrhythmias, including ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation and Torsade de Pointes (see sections 4.4 and 4.5).
Concomitant administration with ticagrelor or ranolazine is contraindicated.
Concomitant administration of clarithromycin and ergot alkaloids (e.g. ergotamine or dihydroergotamine) is contraindicated, as this may result in ergot toxicity (see section 4.5).
Clarithromycin should not be given to patients with history of QT prolongation (congenital or documented acquired QT prolongation) or ventricular cardiac arrhythmia, including torsades de pointe (see sections 4.4 and 4.5).
Clarithromycin should not be used concomitantly with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) that are extensively metabolized by CYP3A4 (lovastatin or simvastatin), due to the increased risk of myopathy, including rhabdomyolysis (see section 4.4 and 4.5).
Concomitant administration of clarithromycin and lomitapide is contraindicated (see section 4.5).
Clarithromycin should not be given to patients with electrolyte disturbances (hypokalaemia or hypomagnesaemia, due to the risk of prolongation of the QT interval)
Clarithromycin should not be used in patients who suffer from severe hepatic failure in combination with renal impairment.
As with other strong CYP3A4 inhibitors, clarithromycin should not be used in patients taking colchicine.
Concomitant administration of clarithromycin and oral midazolam is contraindicated (see section 4.5).
The physician should not prescribe clarithromycin to pregnant women without carefully weighing the benefits against risk, particularly during the first three months of pregnancy (see section 4.6).
Caution is advised in patients with severe renal insufficiency (see section 4.2).
Clarithromycin is principally metabolised by the liver. Therefore, caution should be exercised in administering clarithromycin to patients with impaired hepatic function. Caution should also be exercised when administering clarithromycin to patients with moderate to severe renal impairment.
Hepatic dysfunction, including increased liver enzymes, and hepatocellular and/or cholestatic hepatitis, with or without jaundice, has been reported with clarithromycin. This hepatic dysfunction may be severe and is usually reversible.
Cases of fatal hepatic failure (see section 4.8) have been reported. Some patients may have had pre-existing hepatic disease or may have been taking other hepatotoxic medicinal products. Patients should be advised to stop treatment and contact their doctor if signs and symptoms of hepatic disease develop, such as anorexia, jaundice, dark urine, pruritus, or tender abdomen.
Pseudomembranous colitis has been reported with nearly all antibacterial agents, including macrolides, and may range in severity from mild to life-threatening. Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD) has been reported with use of nearly all antibacterial agents including clarithromycin, and may range in severity from mild diarrhea to fatal colitis. Treatment with antibacterial agents alters the normal flora of the colon, which may lead to overgrowth of C. difficile. CDAD must be considered in all patients who present with diarrhea following antibiotic use. Careful medical history is necessary since CDAD has been reported to occur over two months after the administration of antibacterial agents. Therefore, discontinuation of clarithromycin therapy should be considered regardless of the indication. Microbial testing should be performed and adequate treatment initiated. Drugs inhibiting peristalsis should be avoided.
There have been post-marketing reports of colchicine toxicity with concomitant use of clarithromycin and colchicine, especially in the elderly, some of which occurred in patients with renal insufficiency. Deaths have been reported in some such patients (see section 4.5). Concomitant administration of clarithromycin and colchicine is contraindicated (see section 4.3).
Caution is advised regarding concomitant administration of clarithromycin and triazolobenzodiazepines, such as triazolam, and intravenous or buccal (oromucosal) midazolam (see section 4.5).
Caution is advised regarding concomitant administration of clarithromycin with other ototoxic drugs, especially with aminoglycosides. Monitoring of vestibular and auditory function should be carried out during and after treatment.
Prolonged cardiac repolarization and QT interval, imparting a risk of developing cardiac arrhythmia and torsade de pointes, have been seen in treatment with macrolides including clarithromycin (see section 4.8). Therefore as the following situations may lead to an increased risk for ventricular arrhythmias (including torsade de pointes), clarithromycin should be used with caution in the following patients:
• Patients with coronary artery disease, severe cardiac insufficiency, conduction disturbances or clinically relevant bradycardia.
• Patients with electrolyte disturbances. Clarithromycin must not be given to patients with hypokalaemia (see section 4.3).
• Patients concomitantly taking other medicinal products associated with QT prolongation (see section 4.5).
• Concomitant administration of clarithromycin with astemizole, cisapride, pimozide and terfenadine is contraindicated (see section 4.3).
• Clarithromycin must not be used in patients with congenital or documented acquired QT prolongation or history of ventricular arrhythmia (see section 4.3).
Epidemiological studies investigating the risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes with macrolides have shown variable results. Some observational studies have identified a rare short term risk of arrhythmia, myocardial infarction and cardiovascular mortality associated with macrolides including clarithromycin. Consideration of these findings should be balanced with treatment benefits when prescribing clarithromycin.
Pneumonia: In view of the emerging resistance of Streptococcus pneumoniae to macrolides, it is important that sensitivity testing be performed when prescribing clarithromycin for community-acquired pneumonia. In hospital-acquired pneumonia, clarithromycin should be used in combination with additional appropriate antibiotics.
Skin and soft tissue infections of mild to moderate severity: These infections are most often caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes, both of which may be resistant to macrolides. Therefore, it is important that sensitivity testing be performed. In cases where beta–lactam antibiotics cannot be used (e.g. allergy), other antibiotics, such as clindamycin, may be the drug of first choice. Currently, macrolides are only considered to play a role in some skin and soft tissue infections, such as those caused by Corynebacterium minutissimum, acne vulgaris, and erysipelas and in situations where penicillin treatment cannot be used.
In the event of severe acute hypersensitivity reactions, such as anaphylaxis, severe cutaneous adverse reactions (SCAR) (e.g. Acute generalised exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP), Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis and drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS)), clarithromycin therapy should be discontinued immediately and appropriate treatment should be urgently initiated.
Clarithromycin should be used with caution when administered concurrently with medications that induce the cytochrome CYP3A4 enzyme (see section 4.5).
HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (statins): Concomitant use of clarithromycin with lovastatin or simvastatin is contraindicated (see section 4.3). Caution should be exercised when prescribing clarithromycin with other statins. Rhabdomyolysis has been reported in patients taking clarithromycin and statins. Patients should be monitored for signs and symptoms of myopathy. In situations where the concomitant use of clarithromycin with statins cannot be avoided, it is recommended to prescribe the lowest registered dose of the statin. Use of a statin that is not dependent on CYP3A metabolism (e.g. fluvastatin) can be considered (see section 4.5).
Oral hypoglycemic agents/Insulin: The concomitant use of clarithromycin and oral hypoglycemic agents (such as sulphonylurias) and/or insulin can result in significant hypoglycemia. Careful monitoring of blood glucose is recommended (see section 4.5).
Oral anticoagulants: There is a risk of serious hemorrhage and significant elevations in International Normalized Ratio (INR) and prothrombin time when clarithromycin is co-administered with warfarin (see section 4.5). Caution should be exercised when clarithromycin is co-administered with direct acting oral anticoagulants such as dabigatran, rivaroxaban and apixaban, particularly to patients at high risk of bleeding (see section 4.5). INR and prothrombin times should be frequently monitored while patients are receiving clarithromycin and oral anticoagulants concurrently.
Use of any antimicrobial therapy, such as clarithromycin, to treat H. pylori infection may select for drug-resistant organisms.
Long-term use may, as with other antibiotics, result in colonization with increased numbers of non-susceptible bacteria and fungi. If superinfections occur, appropriate therapy should be instituted.
Attention should also be paid to the possibility of cross resistance between clarithromycin and other macrolide drugs, as well as lincomycin and clindamycin.
Patients who are hypersensitive to lincomycin or clindamycin may also be hypersensitive to clarithromycin. Therefore, caution is required when prescribing clarithromycin for such patients.
When renal function is poor, dosage of clarithromycin should be suitably reduced depending on the degree of the impairment (see section 4.2). In elderly patients, the possibility of renal impairment should be considered. Caution is advised with severe renal insufficiency.
Clarithromycin is an inhibitor of CYP3A4, and concomitant use with other medicinal products that are metabolised to a large extent by this enzyme should be restricted to situations where it is clearly indicated (see section 4.5).
Exacerbation or aggravation of Myasthenia gravis may occur.
Clarithromycin 125mg/5ml suspension contains sucrose and sodium
This medicinal product contains 2.4 g sucrose per 5 ml ready-for-use suspension. This should be taken into account in patients with diabetes mellitus. Patients with rare hereditary problems of fructose intolerance, glucose-galactose malabsorption or sucrase-isomaltase insufficiency should not take this medicinal product.
This medicinal product contains less than 1 mmol sodium (23 mg) per dosage unit, that is to say essentially 'sodium free'.
The use of the following drugs is strictly contraindicated due to the potential for severe drug interaction effects:
Astemizole, cisapride, domperidone, pimozide, and terfenadine
Elevated cisapride levels have been reported in patients receiving clarithromycin and cisapride concomitantly. This may result in QT prolongation and cardiac arrhythmias including ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation and “torsades de pointes”. Similar effects have been observed in patients taking clarithromycin and pimozide concomitantly (see section 4.3).
Macrolides have been reported to alter the metabolism of terfenadine resulting in increased levels of terfenadine which has occasionally been associated with cardiac arrhythmias such as QT prolongation, ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation and torsades de pointes (see section 4.3). In one study in 14 healthy volunteers, the concomitant administration of clarithromycin and terfenadine resulted in a two to three fold increase in the serum level of the acid metabolite of terfenadine and in prolongation of the QT interval which did not lead to any clinically detectable effect. Similar effects have been observed with concomitant administration of astemizole and other macrolides.
Postmarketing reports indicate that co-administration of clarithromycin with ergotamine or dihydroergotamine has been associated with acute ergot toxicity characterized by vasospasm, and ischemia of the extremities and other tissues including the central nervous system. Concomitant administration of clarithromycin and these medicinal products is contraindicated (see section 4.3).
When midazolam was co-administered with clarithromycin tablets (500 mg twice daily), midazolam AUC was increased 7-fold after oral administration of midazolam. Concomitant administration of oral midazolam and clarithromycin is contraindicated (see section 4.3).
HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (statins)
Concomitant use of clarithromycin with lovastatin or simvastatin is contraindicated (see section 4.3), as these statins are extensively metabolized by CYP3A4 and concomitant treatment with clarithromycin increases their plasma concentration, which increases the risk of myopathy, including rhabdomyolysis. Reports of rhabdomyolysis have been received for patients taking clarithromycin concomitantly with these statins. If treatment with clarithromycin cannot be avoided, therapy with lovastatin or simvastatin must be suspended during the course of treatment.
Caution should be exercised when prescribing clarithromycin with statins. In situations where the concomitant use of clarithromycin with statins cannot be avoided, it is recommended to prescribe the lowest registered dose of the statin. Use of a statin that is not dependent on CYP3A metabolism (e.g. fluvastatin) can be considered. Patients should be monitored for signs and symptoms of myopathy.
Concomitant administration of clarithromycin with lomitapide is contraindicated due to the potential for markedly increased transaminases (see section 4.3).
Effects of other medicinal products on clarithromycin
Drugs that are inducers of CYP3A (e.g. rifampicin, phenytoin, carbamazepine, phenobarbital, St. John's wort) may induce the metabolism of clarithromycin. This may result in sub-therapeutic levels of clarithromycin leading to reduced efficacy. Furthermore, it might be necessary to monitor the plasma levels of the CYP3A inducer, which could be increased owing to the inhibition of CYP3A by clarithromycin (see also the relevant product information for the CYP3A4 inhibitor administered).
Concomitant administration of rifabutin and clarithromycin resulted in an increase in rifabutin, and decrease in clarithromycin serum levels together with an increased risk of uveitis.
The following active substances are known or suspected to affect circulating concentrations of clarithromycin; clarithromycin dose adjustment or consideration of alternative treatments may be required.
Efavirenz, nevirapine, rifampicin, rifabutin and rifapentine
Strong inducers of the cytochrome P450 metabolism system such as efavirenz, nevirapine, rifampicin, rifabutin, and rifapentine may accelerate the metabolism of clarithromycin and thus lower the plasma levels of clarithromycin, while increasing those of 14-OH-clarithromycin, a metabolite that is also microbiologically active. Since the microbiological activities of clarithromycin and 14-OH-clarithromycin are different for different bacteria, the intended therapeutic effect could be impaired during concomitant administration of clarithromycin and enzyme inducers.
Clarithromycin exposure was decreased by etravirine; however, concentrations of the active metabolite, 14-OH-clarithromycin, were increased. Because 14-OH-clarithromycin has reduced activity against Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), overall activity against this pathogen may be altered; therefore alternatives to clarithromycin should be considered for the treatment of MAC.
Concomitant administration of fluconazole 200 mg daily and clarithromycin 500 mg twice daily to 21 healthy volunteers led to increases in the mean steady-state minimum clarithromycin concentration (Cmin) and area under the curve (AUC) of 33% and 18% respectively. Steady state concentrations of the active metabolite 14-OH-clarithromycin were not significantly affected by concomitant administration of fluconazole. No clarithromycin dose adjustment is necessary.
A pharmacokinetic study demonstrated that the concomitant administration of ritonavir 200 mg every eight hours and clarithromycin 500 mg every 12 hours resulted in a marked inhibition of the metabolism of clarithromycin. The clarithromycin Cmax increased by 31%, Cmin increased 182% and AUC increased by 77% with concomitant administration of ritonavir. An essentially complete inhibition of the formation of 14-OH-clarithromycin was noted. Because of the large therapeutic window for clarithromycin, no dosage reduction should be necessary in patients with normal renal function. However, for patients with renal impairment, the following dosage adjustments should be considered: For patients with CLCR 30 to 60 mL/min the dose of clarithromycin should be reduced by 50%. For patients with CLCR <30 mL/min the dose of clarithromycin should be decreased by 75%. Doses of clarithromycin greater than 1 gm/day should not be co-administered with ritonavir.
Similar dose adjustments should be considered in patients with reduced renal function when ritonavir is used as a pharmacokinetic enhancer with other HIV protease inhibitors including atazanavir and saquinavir (see section below, Bi-directional drug interactions).
Effect of clarithromycin on other medicinal products
Co-administration of clarithromycin, known to inhibit CYP3A, and a drug primarily metabolized by CYP3A may be associated with elevations in drug concentrations that could increase or prolong both therapeutic and adverse effects of the concomitant medicinal product. The use of clarithromycin is contraindicated in patients receiving the CYP3A substrates astemizole, cisapride, domperidone pimozide and terfenadine due to the risk of QT prolongation and cardiac arrhythmias, including ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation and torsades de pointes (see sections 4.3 and 4.4). The use of clarithromycin is also contraindicated with ergot alkaloids, oral midazolam, HMG CoA reductase inhibitors metabolised mainly by CYP3A4 (e.g. lovastatin and simvastatin), colchicine, ticagrelor and ranolazine (see section 4.3).
Caution is required if clarithromycin is co-administered with other drugs known to be CYP3A enzyme substrates, especially if the CYP3A substrate has a narrow safety margin (e.g. carbamazepine) and/or the substrate is extensively metabolized by this enzyme.
Dosage adjustments may be considered, and when possible, serum concentrations of drugs primarily metabolized by CYP3A should be monitored closely in patients concurrently receiving clarithromycin. Drugs or drug classes that are known or suspected to be metabolized by the same CYP3A isozyme include (but this list is not comprehensive) alprazolam, carbamazepine, cilostazole, ciclosporin, disopyramide, ibrutinib, methylprednisolone, midazolam (intravenous), omeprazole, oral anticoagulants (e.g. warfarin, rivaroxaban, apixaban), atypical antipsychotics (e.g. quetiapine), quinidine, rifabutin, sildenafil, sirolimus, tacrolimus, triazolam and vinblastine.
Drugs interacting by similar mechanisms through other isozymes within the cytochrome P450 system include phenytoin, theophylline and valproate.
There have been post-marketing reports of torsades de pointes occurring with concurrent use of clarithromycin and quinidine or disopyramide. Electrocardiograms should be monitored for QT prolongation during co-administration of clarithromycin with these drugs. Serum levels of quinidine and disopyramide should be monitored during clarithromycin therapy.
There have been post marketing reports of hypoglycemia with the concomitant administration of clarithromycin and disopyramide. Therefore blood glucose levels should be monitored during concomitant administration of clarithromycin and disopyramide.
Ciclosporin, tacrolimus and sirolimus
Concomitant use of oral clarithromycin and ciclosporin or tacrolimus have resulted in more than a 2-fold increase of the Cmin-levels of both ciclosporin and tacrolimus. Similar effects are also expected for sirolimus. When initiating treatment with clarithromycin in patients already receiving any of these immunosuppressive agents, ciclosporin, tacrolimus or sirolimus plasma levels must be closely monitored and their doses decreased as necessary. When clarithromycin is discontinued in these patients, close monitoring of plasma levels of ciclosporin, tacrolimus or sirolimus, is again necessary to guide dose adjustment.
Oral anticoagulants (e.g. warfarin, rivaroxaban, apixaban)
The use of clarithromycin in patients receiving warfarin may result in potentiation of the effects of warfarin.
Direct acting oral anticoagulants (DOACs)
The DOAC dabigatran is a substrate for the efflux transporter P-gp. Rivaroxaban and apixaban are metabolised via CYP3A4 and are also substrates for P-gp. Caution should be exercised when clarithromycin is co-administered with these agents particularly to patients at high risk of bleeding (see section 4.4).
Prothrombin time should be frequently monitored in these patients (see section 4.4 and 4.8).
Oral hypoglycemic agents/Insulin
With certain hypoglycemic drugs such as nateglinide, and repaglinide, inhibition of CYP3A enzyme by clarithromycin may be involved and could cause hypolgycemia when used concomitantly. Careful monitoring of glucose is recommended.
Clarithromycin (500 mg every 8 hours) was given in combination with omeprazole (40 mg daily) to healthy adult subjects. The steady-state plasma concentrations of omeprazole were increased (Cmax, AUC0-24, and t1/2 increased by 30%, 89%, and 34%, respectively), by the concomitant administration of clarithromycin. The mean 24-hour gastric pH value was 5.2 when omeprazole was administered alone and 5.7 when omeprazole was co-administered with clarithromycin.
Sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil
Each of these phosphodiesterase inhibitors is metabolized, at least in part, by CYP3A, and CYP3A may be inhibited by concomitantly administered clarithromycin. Co-administration of clarithromycin with sildenafil, tadalafil or vardenafil would likely result in increased phosphodiesterase inhibitor exposure. Reduction of sildenafil, tadalafil and vardenafil dosages should be considered when these drugs are co-administered with clarithromycin.
Results of clinical studies indicate there was a modest but statistically significant (p≤ 0.05) increase of circulating theophylline or carbamazepine levels when either of these drugs were administered concomitantly with clarithromycin. Dose reduction may need to be considered.
The primary route of metabolism for tolterodine is via the 2D6 isoform of cytochrome P450 (CYP2D6). However, in a subset of the population devoid of CYP2D6, the identified pathway of metabolism is via CYP3A. In this population subset, inhibition of CYP3A results in significantly higher serum concentrations of tolterodine. A reduction in tolterodine dosage may be necessary in the presence of CYP3A inhibitors, such as clarithromycin in the CYP2D6 poor metabolizer population.
Triazolobenzodiazepines (e.g. alprazolam, midazolam, triazolam)
When midazolam was co-administered with clarithromycin tablets (500 mg twice daily), midazolam AUC was increased 2.7-fold after intravenous administration of midazolam and 7-fold after oral administration. Concomitant administration of oral midazolam and clarithromycin should be avoided. If intravenous midazolam is co-administered with clarithromycin, the patient must be closely monitored to allow dose adjustment. Active substance delivery of midazolam via oromucosal route, which could bypass pre-systemic elimination of the active substance, will likely result in a similar interaction to that observed after intravenous midazolam rather than oral administration. The same precautions should also apply to other benzodiazepines that are metabolised by CYP3A, including triazolam and alprazolam. For benzodiazepines which are not dependent on CYP3A for their elimination (temazepam, nitrazepam, lorazepam), a clinically important interaction with clarithromycin is unlikely.
There have been post-marketing reports of drug interactions and central nervous system (CNS) effects (e.g. somnolence and confusion) with the concomitant use of clarithromycin and triazolam. Monitoring the patient for increased CNS pharmacological effects is suggested.
Other drug interactions
Caution is advised regarding concomitant administration of clarithromycin with other ototoxic drugs, especially with aminoglycosides. See 4.4
Colchicine is a substrate for both CYP3A and the efflux transporter, P-glycoprotein (Pgp). Clarithromycin and other macrolides are known to inhibit CYP3A and Pgp. When clarithromycin and colchicine are administered together, inhibition of Pgp and/or CYP3A by clarithromycin may lead to increased exposure to colchicine (see section 4.3 and 4.4).
Digoxin is thought to be a substrate for the efflux transporter, P-glycoprotein (Pgp). Clarithromycin is known to inhibit Pgp. When clarithromycin and digoxin are administered together, inhibition of Pgp by clarithromycin may lead to increased exposure to digoxin.
Elevated digoxin serum concentrations in patients receiving clarithromycin and digoxin concomitantly have also been reported in post marketing surveillance. Some patients have shown clinical signs consistent with digoxin toxicity, including potentially fatal arrhythmias. Serum digoxin concentrations should be carefully monitored while patients are receiving digoxin and clarithromycin simultaneously.
Simultaneous oral administration of clarithromycin tablets and zidovudine to HIV-infected adult patients may result in decreased steady-state zidovudine concentrations. Because clarithromycin appears to interfere with the absorption of simultaneously administered oral zidovudine, this interaction can be largely avoided by staggering the doses of clarithromycin and zidovudine to allow for a 4-hour interval between each medication. This interaction does not appear to occur in paediatric HIV-infected patients taking clarithromycin suspension with zidovudine or dideoxyinosine. This interaction is unlikely when clarithromycin is administered via intravenous infusion.
Phenytoin and Valproate
There have been spontaneous or published reports of interactions of CYP3A inhibitors, including clarithromycin with drugs not thought to be metabolized by CYP3A (e.g. phenytoin and valproate). Serum level determinations are recommended for these drugs when administered concomitantly with clarithromycin. Increased serum levels have been reported.
Other ototoxic drugs, especially aminoglycosides
In case of concomitant administration of clarithromycin with other ototoxic drugs, especially with aminoglycosides, monitoring of vestibular and auditory function should be carried out during and after treatment (see section 4.4).
Bi-directional drug interactions
Both clarithromycin and atazanavir are substrates and inhibitors of CYP3A, and there is evidence of a bi-directional drug interaction. Co-administration of clarithromycin (500 mg twice daily) with atazanavir (400 mg once daily) resulted in a 2-fold increase in exposure to clarithromycin and a 70% decrease in exposure to 14-OH-clarithromycin, with a 28% increase in the AUC of atazanavir. Because of the large therapeutic window for clarithromycin, no dosage reduction should be necessary in patients with normal renal function. For patients with moderate renal function (creatinine clearance 30 to 60 mL/min), the dose of clarithromycin should be decreased by 50%. For patients with creatinine clearance <30 mL/min, the dose of clarithromycin should be decreased by 75% using an appropriate clarithromycin formulation. Doses of clarithromycin greater than 1000 mg per day should not be co-administered with protease inhibitors.
Calcium Channel Blockers
Caution is advised regarding the concomitant administration of clarithromycin and calcium channel blockers metabolized by CYP3A4 (e.g., verapamil, amlodipine, diltiazem) due to the risk of hypotension. Plasma concentrations of clarithromycin as well as calcium channel blockers may increase due to the interaction. Hypotension, bradyarrhythmias and lactic acidosis have been observed in patients taking clarithromycin and verapamil concomitantly.
Both clarithromycin and itraconazole are substrates and inhibitors of CYP3A, leading to a bidirectional drug interaction. Clarithromycin may increase the plasma levels of itraconazole, while itraconazole may increase the plasma levels of clarithromycin. Patients taking itraconazole and clarithromycin concomitantly should be monitored closely for signs or symptoms of increased or prolonged pharmacologic effect.
Both clarithromycin and saquinavir are substrates and inhibitors of CYP3A, and there is evidence of a bi-directional drug interaction. Concomitant administration of clarithromycin (500 mg twice daily) and saquinavir (soft gelatin capsules, 1200 mg three times daily) to 12 healthy volunteers resulted in steady-state AUC and Cmax values of saquinavir which were 177% and 187% higher than those seen with saquinavir alone. Clarithromycin AUC and Cmax values were approximately 40% higher than those seen with clarithromycin alone. No dose adjustment is required when the two drugs are co-administered for a limited time at the doses/formulations studied. Observations from drug interaction studies using the soft gelatin capsule formulation may not be representative of the effects seen using the saquinavir hard gelatin capsule. Observations from drug interaction studies performed with saquinavir alone may not be representative of the effects seen with saquinavir/ritonavir therapy. When saquinavir is co-administered with ritonavir, consideration should be given to the potential effects of ritonavir on clarithromycin.
Hypotension, bradyarrhythmias and lactic acidosis have been observed in patients taking clarithromycin and verapamil concomitantly.
The safety of clarithromycin for use in pregnancy has not been established. Based on variable results obtained from animal studies and experience in humans, the possibility of adverse effects on embryofoetal development cannot be excluded. Some observational studies evaluating exposure to clarithromycin during the first and second trimester have reported an increased risk of miscarriage compared to no antibiotic use or other antibiotic use during the same period. The available epidemiological studies on the risk of major congenital malformations with use of macrolides including clarithromycin during pregnancy provide conflicting results. Therefore, use during pregnancy is not advised without carefully weighing the benefits against risks.
Clarithromycin is excreted into human breast milk in small amounts. It has been estimated that an exclusively breastfed infant would receive about 1.7% of the maternal weight-adjusted dose of clarithromycin. Therefore, diarrhoea and fungus infection of the mucous membranes could occur in the breast-fed infant, so that nursing might have to be discontinued. The possibility of sensitisation should be born in mind. The benefit of treatment of the mother should be weighed against the potential risk for the infant.
There is no data available on the effect of clarithromycin on fertility in humans. In the rat, fertility studies have not shown any evidence of harmful effects.
There are no data on the effect of clarithromycin on the ability to drive and use machines. The potential for dizziness, vertigo, confusion and disorientation, which may occur with the medication, should be taken into account before patients drive or use machines.
Visual impairment and blurred vision may have an effect on a patient's ability to drive or operate machinery (see section 4.8).
a. Summary of the safety profile
The most frequent and common adverse reactions related to clarithromycin therapy for both adult and pediatric populations are abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and taste perversion. These adverse reactions are usually mild in intensity and are consistent with the known safety profile of macrolide antibiotics (see section b of section 4.8).
There was no significant difference in the incidence of these gastrointestinal adverse reactions during clinical trials between the patient population with or without preexisting mycobacterial infections.
b. Tabulated summary of adverse reactions
The following section displays adverse reactions reported in clinical trials and from post-marketing experience with all clarithromycin formulations (granules for oral suspension, film-coated tablets and prolonged release tablets).
The reactions considered at least possibly related to clarithromycin are displayed by system organ class and frequency using the following convention: very common (≥1/10), common (≥ 1/100 to < 1/10), uncommon (≥1/1,000 to < 1/100) and not known (adverse reactions from post-marketing experience; cannot be estimated from the available data). Within each frequency grouping, adverse reactions are presented in order of decreasing seriousness when the seriousness could be assessed.
Infections and infestations
Uncommon: Cellulitis1, candidiasis, gastroenteritis2, infection3, vaginal infection
Not known*: Pseudomembranous colitis, erysipelas
Blood and lymphatic system disorders
Uncommon: Leucopenia, neutropenia4, thrombocythemia3, eosinophilia4
Not known*: Agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia
Immune system disorders
Uncommon: Anaphylactoid reaction1, Hypersensitivity
Not known*: Anaphylactic reaction, angioedema
Metabolism and nutrition disorders
Uncommon: Anorexia, decreased appetite
Uncommon: Anxiety, nervousness3
Not known*: Psychotic disorder, confusional state5, depersonalisation, depression, disorientation, hallucinations, abnormal dreams, mania
Nervous system disorders
Common: Dysgeusia, headache
Uncommon: Loss of consciousness1, dyskinesia1, dizziness, somnolence5, tremor
Not known*: Convulsion, ageusia, parosmia, anosmia, paraesthesia
Not known*: Visual impairment, blurred vision
Ear and labyrinth disorders
Uncommon: Vertigo, hearing impaired, tinnitus
Not known*: Deafness
Uncommon: Cardiac arrest1, atrial fibrillation1, electrocardiogram QT prolonged, extrasystoles1, palpitations
Not known*: Torsades de Pointes, ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation
Not known*: Haemorrhage
Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders
Uncommon: Asthma1, epistaxis2, pulmonary embolism1
Common: Diarrhoea, vomiting, dyspepsia, nausea, abdominal pain
Uncommon: Oesophagitis1, gastroesophageal reflux disease2, gastritis, stomatitis, glossitis, abdominal distension4, constipation, dry mouth, eructation, flatulence, proctalgia
Not known*: Pancreatitis, reversible tooth and tongue discoloration.
Common: Liver function test abnormal
Uncommon: Cholestasis4, hepatitis4, alanine aminotransferase increased, aspartate aminotransferase increased, gammaglutamyltransferase increased4
Not known*: Hepatic failure, jaundice hepatocellular
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders
Common: Rash, hyperhidrosis
Uncommon: Dermatitis bullous1, pruritus, urticaria, rash maculo-papular
Not known*: Severe cutaneous adverse reactions (SCAR) (e.g. acute generalised exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP)), Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS), acne,
Musculoskeletaland connective tissue disorders
Uncommon: Muscle spasms3, musculoskeletal stiffness1, myalgia2
Not known*: Rhabdomyolysis2,6, myopathy
Renal and urinary disorders
Uncommon: Blood creatinine increased1, blood urea increased1
Not known*: Renal failure, interstitial nephritis
General disorders and administration site conditions
Very common: Injection site phlebitis1
Common: Injection site pain1, injection site inflammation1
Uncommon: Malaise4, pyrexia3, asthenia, chest pain4, chills4, fatigue4
Uncommon: Albumin globulin ratio abnormal1, blood alkaline phosphatase increased4, blood lactate dehydrogenase increased4
Not known*: International normalised ratio increased#, prothrombin time prolonged, urine colour abnormal
1 ADRs reported only for the powder for solution for injection formulation
2 ADRs reported only for the extended release tablets formulation
3 ADRs reported only for the granules for oral suspension formulation
4 ADRs reported only for the immediate release tablets formulation
5, 6 see Description of selected adverse reactions
* Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to medicinal product exposure. Patient exposure is estimated to be greater than 1 billion patient treatment days for clarithromycin.
c. Description of selected adverse reactions
In some of the reports of rhabdomyolysis, clarithromycin was administered concomitantly with statins, fibrates, colchicine or allopurinol (see section 4.3 and 4.4).
There have been post-marketing reports of drug interactions and central nervous system (CNS) effects (e.g. somnolence and confusion) with the concomitant use of clarithromycin and triazolam. Monitoring the patient for increased CNS pharmacological effects is suggested (see section 4.5).
Special population: Adverse Reactions in Immunocompromised Patients (see section e)
d. Paediatric population
Clinical trials have been conducted using clarithromycin paediatric suspension in children 6 months to 12 years of age. Therefore, children under 12 years of age should use clarithromycin paediatric suspension.
Frequency, type and severity of adverse reactions in children are expected to be the same as in adults.
e. Other special populations
In AIDS and other immunocompromised patients treated with the higher doses of clarithromycin over long periods of time for mycobacterial infections, it was often difficult to distinguish adverse events possibly associated with clarithromycin administration from underlying signs of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) disease or intercurrent illness.
In adult patients, the most frequently reported adverse reactions by patients treated with total daily doses of 1000 mg and 2000 mg of clarithromycin were: nausea, vomiting, taste perversion, abdominal pain, diarrhea, rash, flatulence, headache, constipation, hearing disturbance, Serum Glutamic Oxaloacetic Transaminase (SGOT) and Serum Glutamic Pyruvate Transaminase (SGPT) elevations. Additional low-frequency events included dyspnoea, insomnia and dry mouth. The incidences were comparable for patients treated with 1000 mg and 2000 mg, but were generally about 3 to 4 times as frequent for those patients who received total daily doses of 4000 mg of clarithromycin.
In these immunocompromised patients, evaluations of laboratory values were made by analysing those values outside the seriously abnormal level (i.e. the extreme high or low limit) for the specified test. On the basis of these criteria, about 2% to 3% of those patients who received 1000 mg or 2000 mg of clarithromycin daily had seriously abnormal elevated levels of SGOT and SGPT, and abnormally low white blood cell and platelet counts. A lower percentage of patients in these two dosage groups also had elevated Blood Urea Nitrogen levels. Slightly higher incidences of abnormal values were noted for patients who received 4000 mg daily for all parameters except White Blood Cell.
Reporting of suspected adverse reactions
Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme (www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard) or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store.
Symptoms of intoxication:
Reports indicate the ingestion of large amounts of clarithromycin can be expected to produce gastrointestinal symptoms. One patient who had a history of bipolar disorder ingested eight grams of clarithromycin and showed altered mental status, paranoid behavior, hypokalaemia, and hypoxaemia.
Therapy of intoxication:
There is no specific antidote on overdose. As with other macrolides, serum levels of clarithromycin are not expected to be appreciably affected by haemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.
Adverse reactions accompanying overdose should be treated by the prompt elimination of unabsorbed drug and supportive measures.
Pharmacotherapeutic group: Macrolides. ATC Code J01FA09.
Mechanism of action:
Clarithromycin exerts its anti-bacterial action by binding to the 50s ribosomal sub-unit of susceptible bacteria and suppresses protein synthesis. It is highly potent against a wide variety of aerobic and anaerobic gram-positive and gram-negative organisms. The minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of clarithromycin are generally two-fold lower than the MICs of erythromycin.
The 14-hydroxy metabolite of clarithromycin also has antimicrobial activity. The MICs of this metabolite are equal or two-fold higher than the MICs of the parent compound, except for Haemophilus influenzae where the 14-hydroxy metabolite is two-fold more active than the parent compound.
For clarithromycin the AUC/ MIC is the major PK/ PD parameter correlating best with the efficacy of clarithromycin.
Mechanism of resistance:
The mechanisms of acquired resistance in macrolides are: efflux of active substance by an active pump mechanism, inducible or constitutive production of a methylase enzyme that modifies the ribosomal target, hydrolysis of macrolides by esterases, chromosomal mutations that alter a 50s ribosomal protein.
Cross-resistance between clarithromycin and other macrolides and clindamycin and lincomycin may therefore occur. Methicillin-resistant and oxacillin-resistant staphylococci (MRSA) and penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae are resistant to all currently available Beta-lactam antibiotics and macrolides such as clarithromycin.
EUCAST (European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing)
Streptococcus spp.(Gruppen A, B, C, G)
The prevalence of acquired resistance may vary geographically and with time for selected species and local information on resistance is desirable, particularly when treating severe infections. As necessary, expert advice should be sought when the local prevalence of resistance is such that the utility of the agent in at least some types of infections is questionable.
Pathogens for which resistance may be a problem: prevalence of resistance is equal to or greater than 10% in at least one country in the European Union
Commonly susceptible species
Aerobic Gram-positive microorganisms
Streptococcus pyogenes 1
Aerobic Gram-negative microorganisms
Haemophilus influenzae $
Helicobacter pylori 2
Chlamydophila pneumoniae °
Legionella pneumophila °
Mycobacterium avium °
Mycobacterium intrazellulare °
Species for which acquired resistance may be a problem
Aerobic Gram-positive microorganisms
Staphylococcus aureus (methicillin-susceptible)
Staphylococcus aureus (methicillin-resistent) +
Inherently resistant organisms
Aerobic Gram-negative microorganisms
° No updated data were available at release of tables. Primary literature, scientific standard literature and therapeutic recommendations assume susceptibility.
$ Inherent susceptibility of most of the isolates shows intermediate resistance.
+ At least on region shows resistance rates higher than 50%.
1 The resistance rates are in some studies ≥10%.
2 The resistance rate is ≥10% by pre-treated patients.
Most available clinical experience from controlled randomised clinical trials indicate that clarithromycin 500 mg twice daily in combination with another antibiotic e.g. amoxicillin or metronidazole and e.g. omeprazole (given at approved levels) for 7 days achieve > 80% H. pylori eradication rate in patients with gastro-duodenal ulcers. As expected, significantly lower eradication rates were observed in patients with baseline metronidazole-resistant H. pylori isolates. Hence, local information on the prevalence of resistance and local therapeutic guidelines should be taken into account in the choice of an appropriate combination regimen for H. pylori eradication therapy. Furthermore, in patients with persistent infection, potential development of secondary resistance (in patients with primary susceptible strains) to an antimicrobial medicinal product should be taken into the considerations for a new retreatment regimen.
Clarithromycin is rapidly and well absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract – primarily in the jejunum - but undergoes extensive first-pass metabolism after oral administration. The absolute bioavailability of a 250-mg clarithromycin tablet is approximately 50%. The bioavailability of the suspension is identical to or slightly higher than the bioavailability of the tablets. The pharmacokinetic profile of the suspension in children corresponds to the pharmacokinetic profile of the suspension in adults. Food slightly delays the absorption but does not affect the extent of bioavailability. Therefore, clarithromycin may be given without regard to food. Due to its chemical structure (6-O-Methylerythromycin) clarithromycin is quite resistant to degradation by stomach acid. Peak plasma levels of 1 – 2 µg/ml clarithromycin were observed in adults after oral administration of 250 mg twice daily. After administration of 500 mg clarithromycin twice daily the peak plasma level was 2,8 µg/ml. In children the following steady-state parameters were observed after the ninth dose in a dose regimen of 7,5 mg/kg twice daily on average for clarithromycin: Cmax 4,60 µg/ml, AUC 15,7 µg.hour/ml and Tmax 2,8 hours. The corresponding average values for the 14-OH metabolite were respectively: 1,64 µg/ml, 6,69 µg.hour/ml and 2,7 hours.
After administration of 250 mg clarithromycin twice daily the microbiologically active 14-hydroxy metabolite attains peak plasma concentrations of 0,6 µg/ml. Steady state is attained within 2 days of dosing.
Clarithromycin penetrates well into different compartments., with an estimated volume of distribution of 200-400 L Clarithromycin provides concentrations in some tissues that are several times higher than the circulating level of the active substance. Increased levels have been found in both tonsils and lung tissue. Clarithromycin also penetrates the gastric mucus.
Clarithromycin is approximately 80% bound to plasma proteins at therapeutic levels.
Biotransformation and elimination:
Clarithromycin is rapidly and extensively metabolised in the liver. Metabolism involves mainly N-dealkylation, oxidation and stereospecific hydroxylation at position C 14.
The pharmacokinetics of clarithromycin is non-linear due to saturation of hepatic metabolism at high doses. Elimination half-life increased from 2-4 hours following administration of 250 mg clarithromycin twice daily to 5 hours following administration of 500 mg clarithromycin twice daily. With a 250 mg every 12 hours dosing, the half-life of the active 14-hydroxy metabolite ranges between 5 to 6 hours.
After oral administration of radioactive clarithromycin 70 - 80% of the radioactivity was found in the faeces. Approximately 20 -30% of clarithromycin appears as the unchanged active substance in the urine. This proportion is increased when the dose is increased. Renal insufficiency increases clarithromycin levels in plasma, if the dose is not decreased.
Total plasma clearance has been estimated to approximately 700 ml/min, with a renal clearance of approximately 170 ml/min.
Renal impairment: Reduced renal insufficiency function results in increased plasma levels of clarithromycin and the active metabolite levels in plasma.
In 4-week-studies in animals, toxicity of clarithromycin was found to be related to the dose and to the duration of the treatment. In all species, the first signs of toxicity were observed in the liver, in which lesions were seen within 14 days in dogs and monkeys. The systemic levels of exposure, related to this toxicity, are not known in detail, but toxic doses (300 mg/kg/day) were clearly higher than the therapeutic doses recommended for humans. Other tissues affected included the stomach, thymus and other lymphoid tissues as well as the kidneys. At near therapeutic doses conjunctival injection and lacrimation occurred only in dogs. At a massive dose of 400mg/kg/day some dogs and monkeys developed corneal opacities and/or oedema. Juvenile animals presented similar toxicity profiles to mature animals although enhanced nephrotoxicity in neonatal rats has been reported.
In vitro and in vivo studies showed that clarithromycin did not have genotoxic potential.
Studies on reproduction toxicity showed that administration of clarithromycin at doses 2x the clinical dose in rabbit (iv) and x10 the clinical dose in monkey (po) resulted in an increased incidence of spontaneous abortions. These doses were related to maternal toxicity. No embryotoxicity or teratogenicity was generally noted in rat studies. However, cardiovascular malformations were observed in two studies in rats treated with doses of 150 mg/kg/d. In mouse at doses x70 the clinical dose cleft palate occurred at varying incidence (3-30%). Clarithromycin has been found in the milk of lactating animals.
Titanium dioxide (E 171)
Methacrylic acid – ethyl acrylate copolymer (1:1)
Colloidal anhydrous silica
Fruit punch flavouring (natural and artificial flavouring substances including maltodextrin, modified starch, sodium and maltol)
After reconstitution 14 days.
Do not store above 25°C.
After reconstitution: Do not store above 25°C.
60 ml, 120 ml and 240 ml HDPE bottles with child resistant PP-screw closures (press+turn) with guarantee ring, an oral PE/PP-measuring syringe (5 ml) with filling marks at 2.5 ml, 3.75 ml and 5.0 ml and/or a PP-measuring spoon with filling marks at 1.25 ml, 2.5 ml and 5.0 ml.
1 bottle contains 27.3 g granules for oral suspension for 40 ml ready-for-use suspension (required water amount: 23.6 ml) or
34.1 g granules for oral suspension for 50 ml ready-for-use suspension (required water amount: 29.5 ml) or
41.0 g granules for oral suspension for 60 ml ready-for-use suspension (required water amount: 35.4 ml) or
47.8 g granules for oral suspension for 70 ml ready-for-use suspension (required water amount: 41.3 ml) or
54.6 g granules for oral suspension for 80 ml ready-for-use suspension (required water amount: 47.2 ml) or
68.3 g granules for oral suspension for 100 ml ready-for-use suspension (required water amount: 59.0 ml) or
81.9 g granules for oral suspension for 120 ml ready-for-use suspension (required water amount: 70.8 ml).
Double pack of 2 x 60 ml ready-for-use suspension: 2 x 41.0 g granules for oral suspension each for 2 x 60 ml ready-for-use suspension each (required water amount: 2 x 35.4 ml each)
1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 100 bottles.
Not all pack sizes may be marketed.
The bottle should be filled with two-thirds of the overall required quantity of water, then thoroughly shaken and filled with water up to the mark and shaken again. The bottle should be shaken vigorously before each application.
After reconstitution with water the medicinal product results in a white to beige suspension.
If the dose is to be given using the oral dosing syringe, the syringe adaptor should be inserted into the bottle neck.
Any unused medicinal product or waste material should be disposed of in accordance with local requirements.
Park View, Riverside Way
Date of first authorisation: 2nd March 2005
Date of latest renewal: 21st January 2009