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beverley47094 beverley47094

Anyone experienced severe anxiety/depression taking Clarithromycin?

I take Citalopram for anxiety/depression. This year I have had 2 chest infections that needed treating and was given Clarithromycin, 500mg twice a day. The latest chest infection was recently and I stopped taking the antibiotics 5 days ago. I have had some awful symptoms that I don't know what has caused. Shaking, increased anxiety and depression, loss of appetite, twitching muscles and weakness in legs. Balance problems. Heart Palpitations. Now I am having difficulty walking and it is really scaring me. I seem to remember having these side effects when I took these before but not so severe.

I would love to hear from anyone who has had a reaction like this and how long was it before you felt better.

24 Replies

  • sarah31580 sarah31580 beverley47094

    I have just come back from the Doctors after experiencing terrible side effects from taking a course of Clarithromycin for Tonsilitis. I am on my last day of a 7 day prescription and have been having terrible leg pains for a couple of days which I put down to symptoms of the Tonsilitis. Anyhow, last night I forgot to take my dose (i should take a tablet once every 12 hrs for 7 days) and noticed that the pains in my leg had eased, again I just thought that the tonsilitis was getting better. This morning I continued to take the tablet as prescribed and by this afternoon I noticed that the pains were back in my legs but I also had tingling/numb arms and fingers, short of breath, palpitations and could not stand up for fear of fainting - basically all of the symptoms of a severe panic attack (i have never suffered from anxiety). My husband took me for an emergency appointment at the Doctors who determined that the Clarithromycin was too strong for me hense the feeling of anxiety and pain in my limbs. They have now told me to stop taking them and given me diazepam to ease the anxiety symptoms. Sorry for the long story but basically if you are in doubt, drink plenty of water to flush your system and go back to your Doctor straight away. Apparently this is quite common as they are strong antibiotics.

  • zil40482 zil40482 beverley47094

    I know this was ages ago but have just started a similar course of Clarithromycin yesterday for tonsillitis and I shan't be taking any more. Just realised the dose was 500 mg and i am quite small. I have spent two hours today wondering where and who I was and in a state of extreme anxiety, and could hardly walk around the room without legs feeling as if they would not work. All very odd and I read the side effects and it said disturbance to perception and vertigo, etc. It is totally unlike me to panic and it's a great relief to see I am not  going mad. Quite frankly I would rather have the tonsillitiis! I hope you are recovered now. I am going to tough it out and if it don't go away go back to good old penecillin low dose (although I have read some things about that too), It makes you wonder why the drug companies keep quiet about these types of side effects as they are to my mind so much worse than the expected physical ones!


    • claire09 claire09 zil40482

      I started taking this on Wednesday after finishing amoxicillin for chest infection last Sunday it cleared my chest infection but I was having sensitivity towards light and sense of fullness. I had two treatments of hoopi ear candles and the wax both times was thick.  I. Having panic and heart racing and anxious all the time since being on these. I never have panicky or anxiety I'm scared it's not going to go. I finish tablets Tuesday 

    • trisha. trisha. zil40482

      Hi , how long since you stopped taking this medicine did u start to feel better? I stopped due to similar effect but that was 4days ago&I dont know when ill ever feel normal again.

  • Ailidh Ailidh beverley47094

    Although I've recently posted that Clarithromycin (7 days for a toe infection in someone with newly-diagnosed diabetes) wasn't nearly as bad as I'd feared it would be, I Am now wondering how long the anxiety side effects could last.

    Yesterday was the 2nd day after I completed the course, and I felt twinges of anxiety all day, culminating in a lot of crying and sobbing in the evening. A thoroughly disturbed night followed (according to my tracker, while I slept for 7 hours, it was broken 30 times.......) and I was very low and very tearful this morning. Slightly better this afternoon and, in a way, I hope it Was the clarithromycin - I presume it will just wither away.....

  • Caryn36853 Caryn36853 beverley47094

    Beverley and others,

    I am experiencing the same symptoms following the taking of clarithromycin 500 mg for a bronchial infection. After only 4 days on it I began to experience hearing loss and stopped taking it. That was over two months ago. I am still experiencing extreme anxiety, very strange sensations in my body, like hot flashes, muscle twitches, and have lost 12 pounds - and it was always hard for me to lose weight. There are so many other symptoms like sudden food allergies, dry mouth, post nasal drip, the list goes on. Please, if any of you have found an antidote for this, would so appreciate what helped. Your postings helped me to figure out that it was the clarithromycin and not the bronchitis that brought all of this on.

  • chris87099 chris87099 beverley47094

    I was prescribed Clarythromycin for a nasty chest infection quite recently. I take Sertraline and Buspirone for anxiety and depression and about three days into the course of antibiotics I began to feel not well, severe anxiety attacks and depression severe. I stopped taking the Clarythromycin and after two days my mood began to lift

  • melissa66098 melissa66098 beverley47094

    I am so glad that I found this post. I'm on day 12 of 14 of Clarithromycin 500mg twice a day for a sinus infection that seemed to be causing recurring tonsillitis. I have never felt so anxious and depressed in my life. It's so scary. I have had the other side effects too, the awful taste, lack of appetite, poor bowels, belching, acidic feeling in stomach and so on. But it's the anxiety and terrible shakes and negative thoughts that are so worrying. I called the doctor today and she told me to stop taking them. I figure that they have fixed up my physical sickness so feel.OK about not finishing the whole course. I've taken a really long course and I'm very small. I am so heartened to read the posts where people have said that the anxiety has passed in a couple of days after finishing the tablets. I've taken my last pill now and fingers crossed these terrible symptoms pass. I hope everyone on this thread is feeling better now!

    • Caryn36853 Caryn36853 melissa66098

      Hello Melissa!

      I am praying for you Melissa, that everything will return to normal quickly for you.  I'm feeling a lot better now, and hope that the issues that remain will eventually clear up.  If the anxiety continues once you're off the clarithromycin for a while, you might try a probiotic that contains the helveticus and longum strains of bacteria.  I used the Jarrow 35/15 formula that included these two strains for about a week.  Within the first 24 hours, the anxiety symptoms disappeared.  Over the past few months, my digestive system has recovered and I continue to use greek yogurt.

      Wishing you the best,


    • melissa66098 melissa66098 Caryn36853

      Thanks Caryn for your thoughts. I am starting to feel a little better now and have got some probiotics to help along the process. Just such a shock to the system! Am hoping that the anxiety and depression will start to either away with time.

      Thanks again.

  • melissa55652 melissa55652 beverley47094

    Hi all very important information about clarithromycin is that it depletes your potassium stores massively. Look up symptoms of low potassium weakness leg cramps twitches heart palps are all symptoms. I took this a few times within one year n nearly died of a heart attack from such low potassium. It caused me so many problems n much suffering.

    My bloods were all coming out wrong so it took ages to figure out what was happening to me but I was as close to being dead as a person can be. I don't understand how docs are not aware of this. Every time your on a course of this a course of potassium supplements should be prescribed alongside. And I see some posts of people taking long 14 day courses.

    Basically you've only so much potassium in your body n a 7 day course of this depletes 90,000 mgs of potassium from your body which is massive. The upper limit for potassium per day is 7000mgs but this is near impossible to get in but should get at least 3000mgs per day to replenish. This will take around 2months. Every point you go down in potassium means you've lost 30k from your stores.

    The reference range is 3.5 - 5.3 but you wanna be at least 4 or higher. I was almost empty at 3.4 n many people have serious symptoms at the low 3s but a lot of docs think this is not that serious n mildly low levels can't cause this but the fact is half people are empty at low 3s some can go down to 2s its just a discrepancy on how it measures different in different people probably depending on body weight or bloods it's very sensitive blood test anyway.

  • luc 79454 luc 79454 beverley47094

    Hi Beverley and co,

    Can you give me an update?

    Did your symptoms ease? I feel like I'm going through the same thing. One week after finishing a double course of antibiotics and feeling ultra anxious still.

    It stopped for a day or two after stopping the meds the. Started two days ago again.

    No anxiety or anything prior to this.

    When will it stopppp?

    Help smile

  • albert777 albert777 beverley47094

    I started taking Clarithromycin twice a day for bronquitis 6 days ago. Side effects are rare heart palpitations, insomnia, uneasiness, and anxiety. I will consult with my Doctor if I can finish it before the 10 days. It is working on my bronquitis and sinus infection but definetely a horrible experience...........

  • richard10704 richard10704 beverley47094

    Hi all, 

    I appreciate this is an old post now but I always think it comforting to those suffering to hear recent stories. I have an ear infection. I have been taking Clarithromycin for 5 days after already completing a course of Flucloxacillin that didnt work. Now I must state that I am an anxiety sufferer however I function well on a day to day basis and manage to control the anxiety without medication. 

    Since starting a course of Clarithromycin I have been going through hell! It started with my head feeling full yet lightheaded and unsteady. This feeling alone set of a terrible bout of anxiety. It got so bad that yesterday I had a complete break down in front of my wife and cried my eyes out. She took me to a doctor who checked the ear and gave me the all clear. She has given me 2mg diazepam to try and break the anxiety cycle and I stopped taking the Clarithromycin last night. I am praying to God that I will feel normal again in the next few days while the drug leaves my system. Other than the doctors appointment I haven't left the house. I have spent most the time locked away in my bedroom. I haven't even been able to play with my two young sons. 

    The one thing I want to share is this, having been here before with bad reactions to other antibiotics, when its happening to you, you feel like you are in a hole and that you cant climb out. Your brain prevents you from thinking rationally and you feel like the anxiety never ends. 

    Trust me it does end. The drugs will leave your system and you will begin to feel better. Do not expect it to be instant. You may have a few wobbles in the first few days but it will pass. 

    I wish you all the very best of health and hope that my own health improves too!

    • Smiler68 Smiler68 richard10704

      Hi Richard

      I feel i'm going mad just now. I wouldn't say i'm a sufferer from anxiety. I do worry about things, but everything seems amplified now since I was on Clarithromycin. When I started taking the course i had the nauseas feeling and horrible taste in my mouth which I could cope with. On the night of day 5 of the course I went to bed and suddenly this awful feeling came over me, it's hard to explain. I felt I didn't know what was happening to me. A kind of feeling of losing sense of reality and confusion. A really scary experience. I was panicking and ended up in A&E that night. I was checked over and sent home to rest. I didn't feel too bad the next couple of days following this, and even went back to work, but then on that night the same thing happened again. When it happened i'm unable to sleep, so went back to the doctor who gave me sleeping tablets, but now all I feel is very anxious, all my feelings are overwhelming and i'm not sure how to deal with it. Does it go away? As I feel now i'm finding it difficult to function properly

    • Daphne69 Daphne69 Smiler68

      Yes. It goes away when the drug is mostly out of your system. I took zpack on Dec. 5th to 9th. I have never had anxiety in my life. On day 2, my heart startes pounding and palpitating and my whole body felt like it was crawling. My mind was racing with terrible thoughts and I thought I was going crazy. It was the most awful, terrifying and lonely experience. I couldnt explain to anyone how I was freaking out so bad inside. This continued off and on for the days I was on zpack and then again on the 2nd, 4th and 8th day after I finished. One time it lasted feom 3am until 3pm. I had to call in sick for work. Thank god I looked it up online and found that I wasnt the only one. It helped keep me from feeling totally helpless and hopeless by telling myself it would pass with time. And calming my breathing. And calling people to talk me through it. And you know what? It did pass. I am fine now. Back to normal. You will be okay. It's hard, but it will ease as the drug leaves your system. Take care of yourself. You are okay.

  • eleanor92912 eleanor92912 beverley47094

    Oh my god i am so sorry for everyone on this page but glad to see that i am not imagining these things , i am on day 3 of these Clarithromycin tablets 500mg its a living hell is all i can say , i found a lump in my neck doc said it was a swollen gland but have no other symptoms was given amoxicillin but the lump remained so i went back to my doc who gave me these tablets i didn't realize they were so strong but the side effects  are just horrendous , bad taste in my mouth really strong taste , so anxious , i have had a bout of anxiety in the past but that was a long time ago cant stop crying , snapping at everyone , some quite irrational thoughts , feel really scared but of what i dont know the lump well that is very slightly smaller so all this combined with the worry of not knowing why the gland was swollen in the first place has been the worst experience of my life finish the tablets on Wednesday , will try to stick it out fingers crossed , wish everyone on here better , How to tablets with such bad side effects get approved by NICE  i do not know  .

    • rachael02693 rachael02693 eleanor92912

      I am so glad I found this descussion ! I was put on antidepressants fluoxetine 20mg  5 weeks ago and after a rocky start week 4 I started to feel much better! Then I got a ear infection and was given amoxicillin 500mg but after 5 days they wasn’t working so I was given these clarithromycin 500mg after 4 days I was having a break down !! Crying all day wanting to end my life !! Not able to leave bedroom bad  anxiety really bad depression !! I am so sad that the doctor asked me if I had any allergies or on any other medication and I told him I suffered depression and on antidepressants !!! 

  • rachael02693 rachael02693 beverley47094

    I am so glad I found this descussion ! I was put on antidepressants fluoxetine 20mg  5 weeks ago and after a rocky start week 4 I started to feel much better! Then I got a ear infection and was given amoxicillin 500mg but after 5 days they wasn’t working so I was given these clarithromycin 500mg after 4 days I was having a break down !! Crying all day wanting to end my life !! Not able to leave bedroom bad  anxiety really bad depression !! I am so sad that the doctor asked me if I had any allergies or on any other medication and I told him I suffered depression and on antidepressants !!! 

  • lisa64017 lisa64017 beverley47094

    Thank you so much for posting this and all who have shared.

    I started 4 days ago. 500 MG per day.

    I have a dark history of depression and anxiety disorder, diagnosed with disthymia, so I get these period of "double depression" once in a while.

    I've kept well for a couple of years so not on any anti depressants at the moment.

    The clarithromycin dosage was 500mg twice a day. Day one I just felt nauseous and lethargic. Day two I felt overall disconnected. Day 3 I skipped work and had to call suicide hotline. It spiraled quickly. I did not handle it well. I'm stopping the treatment now. I'd rather get my chest/sinus infection back than to lose myself completely.

    • Daphne69 Daphne69 lisa64017

      I am so sorry that you are having such awful side effects to this drug. It is good that you stopped taking it. I had taken the 5 days of mine before I figured out it was what was causing the panic attacks and other symptoms. It takes time for this drug to leave your system, but I found the awful effects were subsiding and becoming less frequent as time went by. I am okay now, and have been since about the 17th of December (I took Zpack until Dec 9th). Maybe you can explain the situation to your doctor and they can give you something or suggestions to help you through this. Hugs to you.

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