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Treatments > Medications Used In MS

Brand Name Chemical Name

(U.S. and Canada)


Primary Usage in MS

Generic Available
Urinary Tract Infections No

Nitrofurantoin is an anti-infective that is used primarily to treat urinary tract infections.

Proper Usage
Nitrofurantoin should be taken with food or milk to lessen stomach upset and to promote your body's absorption of the medication.

Finish the full course of treatment prescribed by your doctor, and avoid missing doses. Even if your symptoms disappear after a few days, stopping this medication prematurely may result in a return of the symptoms.

If you miss a dose of this medication, take it as soon as possible. If, however, it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double dose.

The use of nitrofurantoin may cause your urine to become rust-yellow or brownish. This change does not require medical treatment and does not need to be reported to your physician.

Nitrofurantoin can interact with, or alter the action of, a variety of other medications you may be taking. It is very important to let your physician know about all the medications you are taking so that necessary substitutions or dosage adjustments can be made.

If you will be taking this medication over an extended period of time, your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits. If your symptoms do not improve within a few days, or become worse, consult your physician.

Individuals with diabetes may find that this medication alters the results of some urine sugar tests. Consult with your physician before changing your diet or the dosage of your diabetes medicine.

Certain medical conditions can affect the use of nitrofurantoin. Be sure to alert your physician about any medical conditions you have, especially glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, kidney disease, or lung disease.

Because nitrofurantoin can cause problems in infants, it should not be used by a woman who is within a week or two of her delivery date, or during labor and delivery.

Nitrofurantoin passes into the breast milk in small amounts and may cause problems in nursing babies (especially those with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency).

Possible Side Effects
Side effects that may go away as your body adjusts to the medication and do not require medical attention unless they continue or are bothersome: abdominal or stomach pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting.

Rare side effects that should be reported to your doctor immediately: chest pain; chills; cough; fever; trouble breathing; dizziness; headache; numbness, tingling, or burning of face or mouth*; unusual weakness or tiredness*; itching; joint pain; skin rash; yellow eyes or skin.

*Since it may be difficult to distinguish between certain common symptoms of MS and some side effects of nitrofurantoin , be sure to consult your health care professional if an abrupt change of this type occurs.

Medication Index

Other Medications Used to Treat Urinary Tract Infections

Read more on bladder dysfunction and learn management strategies to help live comfortably.

Reprinted with permission from Rosalind C. Kalb (ed.), Multiple Sclerosis: The Questions You Have—The Answers You Need (4th ed.). New York: Demos Medical Publishing, 2007.

Last updated September 20, 2007