Macrobid for UTI: Everything You Should Know!

A UTI is an unpleasant infection of the urinary tract that can cause painful, urgent, and frequent urination. Antibiotics are the only true way to treat a UTI, and Macrobid is one of the most commonly prescribed.

Continue reading for more information on the type of UTI Macrobid can treat, the side effects to be aware of, and special instructions for taking this antibiotic to ensure it clears up your infection.

Table of Contents

Using Macrobid for UTI Treatment

The most common cause of a urinary tract infection (UTI) is bacteria, which makes antibiotics such as Macrobid the primary form of treatment.

It is crucial for those prescribed Macrobid for their UTI to take the medication as prescribed and for the entire course. This is a medication taken at home, which is why patient compliance is crucial for proper treatment.

What Kind of UTI Does Macrobid Treat?

Macrobid generally kills the following bacterial strains:

  • E. coli
  • Enterococci
  • Klebsiella
  • Staphylococcus

To note, E. coli is the bacteria that most often causes UTIs. However, Macrobid is only effective against bacteria in the urinary tract, which is why it is an ideal treatment for UTIs.

How To Use Macrobid for a UTI?

Macrobid comes in a 100mg capsule and should be taken every 12 hours with food for 7 days. Taking it with food is vital as food helps the body absorb more of the medication, so taking it without food can make it take longer for the infection to be treated.

It is also important to take Macrobid whole and to refrain from crushing, chewing, or splitting the capsule.

Macrobid kills only a specific type of bacteria, which means that other bacteria will not be affected by this medication and can continue to grow. Knowing this, it is important to take Macrobid only when prescribed and to inform your doctor if your symptoms are not improving. 

How Long Does It Take for Macrobid to Clear Up a UTI?

A prescription for Macrobid often lasts for seven days. While it is likely that you will begin feeling better before the course is complete, it is important to take Macrobid for the entire length prescribed to ensure all of the bacteria causing the UTI are eradicated.

About Macrobid

Macrobid is the brand name for the antibiotic nitrofurantoin, which collects in the urine. This makes it an ideal antibiotic for UTIs since UTIs affect the urinary tract. Nitrofurantoin stops bacteria by keeping them from making the nutrients they need to survive.

Some health conditions make Macrobid a less ideal choice, with the most prominent being those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because Macrobid is a category B pregnancy drug that can damage newborn babies’ red blood cells. Because of this, it is not recommended to take this drug if you are more than 38 weeks pregnant, and it is important to talk to a doctor at any point in your pregnancy to determine if Macrobid is safe for you and your baby.

Macrobid can also pass to your child through breast milk, so it is also important for breastfeeding mothers to discuss alternative medications, or if breastfeeding should be stopped while taking Macrobid.

Side effects

Some of the common side effects that those taking Macrobid may experience include:

  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • gas
  • headache
  • constipation
  • diarrhea

More severe side effects, such as allergic reactions or liver damage, may develop in some cases. 

Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • rash or hives
  • rapid heart rate
  • swelling of the tongue, lips, or face
  • throat tightness

An allergic reaction is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention.

Signs of liver damage include:

  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • fever
  • tenderness or pain in the abdomen
  • dark urine
  • yellowing of the white of the eyes or skin

Drug Interactions

A drug interaction occurs when something changes the way a drug works, such as another drug or a supplement. Drug interactions can cause Macrobid to be less effective or can increase the presence of unpleasant side effects.

Some drugs that can interact with Macrobid include spironolactone, probenecid, and the typhoid vaccine.

Because of the potential for drug interactions, it is crucial to inform your doctor of all medications, herbs, or vitamins you are taking before beginning Macrobid.

Get Help from DrHouse!

For those suffering from the unpleasant symptoms of a UTI, DrHouse can help you get the relief you desire. Using our app, you can meet with a doctor in just 15 minutes to discuss your symptoms and receive a prescription for an antibiotic, such as Macrobid, that best fits you based on your preexisting health conditions or other medications you take. 

With DrHouse, you can quickly begin treatment for your UTI, helping you find relief and preventing a more serious infection from developing.

Key Takeaways

Many antibiotics may be prescribed for a UTI, and nitrofurantoin (Macrobid) is one of the most common. Macrobid is a medication that is most effective against bacteria in the urinary tract, which is why it is most commonly prescribed for urinary tract infections. Additionally, Macrobid can kill E. coli, the bacteria that most often causes UTIs.

Macrobid is taken every 12 hours with food, which helps to increase the body’s absorption of the drug. Treatment typically lasts for 7 days, and it is crucial to take Macrobid for the entire course to ensure it kills all the harmful bacteria.

Common side effects of Macrobid include stomach upset, which can worsen if it is not taken with food. More severe potential side effects include allergic reactions or liver damage. Additionally, it is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding to take Macrobid, as it may pass to the newborn baby. There are also certain medications that can interact with Macrobid, so it is essential to discuss a complete health history with your doctor before beginning this antibiotic to ensure it is safe to take.  


Content on the DrHouse website is written by our medical content team and reviewed by qualified MDs, PhDs, NPs, and PharmDs. We follow strict content creation guidelines to ensure accurate medical information. However, this content is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For more information read our medical disclaimer.

Always consult with your physician or other qualified health providers about medical concerns. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it based on what you read on this website.

If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.



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