Nitrofurantoin
  • Nitrofurantoin

Nitrofurantoin

Medication features

  • Four times daily dosage
  • Three-day course
  • For bacterial infections in the urinary tract
  • The better value generic version of Macrobid

Overview

Order Nitrofurantoin Tablets Online UK

You can order nitrofurantoin tablets online from our UK registered online doctor and pharmacy service. This is used to treat cystitis, which is a common type of urinary tract infection (UTI), particularly in women.

Once you have completed the online doctor consultation, our doctors will review your assessment and prescribe the medicine if safe to do so. Our pharmacy team will then dispense and dispatch your prescription to your door.

What is Nitrofurantoin?

It’s an antibiotic medicine used to treat bacterial infections such as UTIs. Each tablet contains nitrofurantoin 50mg. In the UK, nitrofurantoin is a prescription-only medicine and must be prescribed by a doctor or healthcare professional.

It can be used to treat or prevent UTIs. Some people have recurrent infections and are then prescribed nitrofurantoin daily for several months to prevent future infections.

How does it work?

Nitrofurantoin is an antibiotic commonly used to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) such as cystitis and kidney infections. It’s useful for UTIs because the drug is filtered into the urine and can work at the site of infection in the urinary tract. 

It’s effective against most bacteria that can cause UTIs and works by killing the bacteria causing the infection.

Chronic Cystitis

How long does it take Nitrofurantoin to work?

Improvement in symptoms can begin in as little as 24 hours, however to completely clear cystitis, it can take up to three days of treatment. Always finish your prescribed course of antibiotics to ensure all the bacteria has been cleared. If you are still experiencing any symptoms after three days of treatment, it is important that you speak to your doctor.

About Cystitis

Cystitis occurs when bacteria enters the normally sterile bladder. This leads to inflammation and irritation. The major symptoms of cystitis are:

  • The urge to urinate frequently
  • Pain when urinating
  • Irritation and burning when urinating
  • Dark or cloudy urine
  • Urine with a strong smell

If you experience any lower back or flank pain while you have cystitis symptoms it could be a sign of a more serious kidney infection. You must seek medical attention immediately if this happens.

How to take Nitrofurantoin

The nitrofurantoin dosage depends on the type of infection the medicine is treating. For cystitis, the usual dose is 50mg taken 4 times a day for 3 days. However, you should always take this medicine exactly as your doctor has told you to.  

The tablets should always be taken with food or milk, this helps the medicine work more effectively. Carry on taking this medicine until the course is completed, even if you feel better. If you stop your treatment early, your problem could come back.

Nitrofurantoin summary

Dose

Take ONE tablet FOUR times a day for THREE days. Take with or after food.

Type of medicine

Antibiotic tablet

Mechanism

Kills bacteria in the bladder causing the infection

Active Ingredient

50mg Nitrofurantoin

Price

From £11.99

Side Effects

Can include stomach upset, headache, nausea, darkened urine (normal)

Cystitis alternatives

There are several antibiotics used to treat UTIs. This includes trimethoprim, fosfomycin, pivmecillinam, amoxicillin, and cefalexin. 

Cystitis is considered to be a mild infection and can often get better within a few days. However, sometimes antibiotics are needed to clear the infection. A modified-release nitrofurantoin capsule version is commonly prescribed for cystitis. This is known as the brand name Macrobid. Each Macrobid capsule contains nitrofurantoin 100mg. 

Trimethoprim is another antibiotic commonly used to treat cystitis. This also works to kill the bacteria causing cystitis and clear the infection.

Nitrofurantoin Side Effects

This medicine can cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhoea, stomach pain and headache. It can also cause your urine to change colour and become dark yellow or brown. This is normal and you should continue to take it as your doctor has prescribed.

Other side effects can be more serious. This includes jaundice, lung problems, cyanosis, and raised pressure in the skull. See section 4 of the patient information leaflet for a complete list of side effects, including serious side effects. If you experience any serious side effects, you should call your doctor immediately.

Author

Hywel McGlinchy, Clinical Pharmacist

Name

Hywel McGlinchy

RoleClinical Pharmacist
Qual.Masters of Pharmacy
AboutHywel started with Simple Online Pharmacy in 2020. He's responsible for helping author and review accurate site content. He also works with our GPs to make sure all aspects of patient safety are covered. 

FAQ

Is nitrofurantoin a good antibiotic?

Different antibiotics are effective for different types of infections. Nitrofurantoin is an effective antibiotic for urinary tract infections (UTIs) like cystitis and kidney infections. However, you should take antibiotics exactly as prescribed by your doctor. This is because taking an antibiotic for the wrong infection can lead to antibiotic resistance. This can lead to infections that are resistant to antibiotics.  

How long does nitrofurantoin take to work for a UTI?

Taking nitrofurantoin for UTIs can help to clear up the infection. The course of treatment for cystitis is usually 3 days and your symptoms should have improved by the time you complete your course. If you’re still experiencing symptoms after completing the course, you should talk to your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Can you buy nitrofurantoin over the counter in the UK?

Nitrofurantoin, in the UK, is not available to buy over the counter. It’s a prescription-only medicine and can only be prescribed by a doctor or healthcare professional. However, you can buy nitrofurantoin online from a registered online doctor and pharmacy service like Simple Online Pharmacy.

To request to order this medicine, you need to complete an online assessment form. This is reviewed by our doctors, who will prescribe this medicine if safe and suitable to do so. Our nitrofurantoin price in the UK includes the prescription fee.

Can you drink alcohol while taking nitrofurantoin?

Yes, there is no interaction between nitrofurantoin and alcohol. It is recommended to avoid alcohol if possible during a UTI as alcohol can cause dehydration which should be avoided when you have a UTI.

Do I need a prescription for nitrofurantoin in the UK?

Yes, nitrofurantoin is a prescription-only medicine in the UK. You may get a  prescription from an online doctor service or doctor in person after a consultation.

Can you take nitrofurantoin while breastfeeding?

A small amount of the medicine can pass into the breastmilk and to the baby. Because of this, it can affect some babies if they have certain blood cell conditions. Always consult your doctor before using nitrofurantoin if you are breastfeeding.

Can you take pain medicine with nitrofurantoin?

Yes, pain medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can be used with nitrofurantoin. These may assist with relieving the symptoms of cystitis while the antibiotic clears the infection.

Reviews

Info Leaflet

Before taking any medication, it is important to read the Patient Information Leaflet. You can find information leaflets for your medicines by typing them into the search bar at medicines.org, or by contacting us.

Warnings

Nitrofurantoin Warnings

This medicine may not be suitable for everyone. It should not be taken by anyone who has had an allergic reaction to nitrofurantoin or a similar antibiotic or any of the ingredients listed in the tablets.

It is not suitable for those with severe kidney disease, porphyria or G6PD deficiency. See the patient information leaflet for more information.

You can drink alcohol while taking nitrofurantoin, but it should be avoided if possible.

Nitrofurantoin and Pregnancy

Nitrofurantoin is not suitable for women in the last stages of pregnancy. At the later stage of pregnancy, it may affect the baby. Please consult your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant while taking this medicine.

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Trimethoprim 200mg

Medication Simple Online Pharmacy
200mg x6 £9.50

Macrobid

Medication Simple Online Pharmacy
100mg x6 £17.48

Nitrofurantoin

Medication Simple Online Pharmacy
50mg x12 £11.99