Why is this medication prescribed?
Nitazoxanide is used to treat diarrhea in children and adults caused by the protozoa Cryptosporidium or Giardia. Protozoa are suspected as the cause when diarrhea lasts more than 7 days. Nitazoxanide is in a class of medications called antiprotozoal agents. It works by stopping the growth of certain protozoa that cause diarrhea.
How should this medicine be used?
Nitazoxanide comes as a tablet and a suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken with food every 12 hours for 3 days. Take nitazoxanide at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take nitazoxanide exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Shake the suspension well before each use to mix the medication evenly.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking nitazoxanide,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to nitazoxanide or any other medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), problems with the immune system, or liver or kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking nitazoxanide, call your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
To prevent dehydration caused by diarrhea, make sure you or your child gets enough to drink. Take small, frequent sips of water, fruit juice, sports drinks, or broth.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Nitazoxanide may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- stomach pain
- upset stomach
- discolored urine
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- skin rash
Nitazoxanide may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Dispose of any unused nitazoxanide suspension after 7 days.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Patients with diabetes should know that there are 1.48 grams of sucrose in each teaspoon (5 mL) of nitazoxanide suspension.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable. If you still have diarrhea after you finish the nitazoxanide, call your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.