What is Macrobid?
Each Macrobid capsule contains 100mg of the active ingredient nitrofurantoin. Nitrofurantoin is an antibiotic that is particularly effective at treating UTI’s, such as cystitis, as it passes through the bladder and out in the urine.
UTI’s are fairly common in women, but can also affect men. They are caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract and can cause discomfort in the bladder and more severe cases the kidneys.
Although UTIs can be very uncomfortable and if left untreated can be serious, they are normally easily managed. Common cystitis treatment would involve using a combination of simple painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, sachets to neutralise the pH of the urine such as Cymalon and an antibiotic, such as Macrobid (nitrofurantoin) or Trimethoprim.
What is Macrobid used for?
Macrobid is used to treat UTIs sometimes known as cystitis, bladder or water infections. The active ingredient nitrofurantoin kills the bacteria causing discomfort and inflammation in the urinary tract leaving you feeling soothed.
The main symptoms of UTI to look out for are:
- needing to urinate urgently or more often than usual
- pain or a burning sensation when urinating
- smelly or cloudy urine
- blood in your urine
- pain in your lower abdomen
If you are unsure whether you are suffering from a UTI you should discuss your symptoms with a doctor or pharmacist who may want you to provide a urine sample to help decide on the right course of treatment.
How does Macrobid work?
Macrobid contains an antibiotic agent called nitrofurantoin, which treats UTIs very efficiently because the body quickly filters it from your blood and into your urine. This means the nitrofurantoin is concentrated at the site of infection allowing it to target the bacteria causing the infection.
How long does it take Macrobid to work?
Improvement is usually seen within 24 hours of taking Macrobid and symptoms are usually completely resolved after 3 days. If symptoms are not improving or are worsening consult a doctor.
You may feel better before you have completed the course of antibiotics. However, you must finish your course as advised, even if you feel better. If you stop taking your antibiotic early, the bacteria which cause UTI’s can become resistant to the medication.
Alternatives - Why should I choose Macrobid over trimethoprim?
Current NHS guidelines recommend that nitrofurantoin is used as the first-line antibiotic to treat UTIs as there is currently less bacterial resistance to Macrobid than Trimethoprim. This means that Macrobid is more likely to be effective in treating your cystitis if you haven't had a urine sample analysed to test for the best treatment to use.
Many women will still be prescribed trimethoprim, to treat UTIs such as cystitis, and many find it works for them and may prefer it but similarly many women find nitrofurantoin a better choice for them.
Will Macrobid give you thrush?
Because of the way Macrobid works it is extremely rare for you to experience thrush with this medication. However, like all antibiotics including nitrofurantoin, it reduces the bacteria in the body, which can cause the naturally occurring fungus to overgrow in the vagina leading to thrush symptoms.
If you develop vaginal thrush while using any course of antibiotics, thrush treatment is available from The Independent Pharmacy and is fast-acting and easy to use.
Will Macrobid stop my contraceptive pill from working?
Macrobid will not stop your contraceptive pill (combined or progesterone only) from working. Only two antibiotics called rifampicin and rifabutin will reduce the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill.
Can you take painkillers whilst being treated with Macrobid?
You can take Macrobid safely with any over the counter painkillers like aspirin, ibuprofen or paracetamol.
Macrobid and Alcohol
Macrobid and alcohol do not interact so a moderate alcohol consumption will not affect how this medicine works.
It is, however, not advisable to drink alcohol while suffering from a UTI as this can irritate the bladder. Drinking plenty of water, non-alcohol drinks and herbal teas will help you get rid of the infection.