Should I be worried about taking Clarithromycin with Verapamil?

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I have been prescribed Clarithromycin for a lung infection. Had to see out of hours GP because it's Sunday and a long week-end. I told him I also take Verapamil (and Candesartan) for high BP. (I'm also allergic to penicillin so he couldn't prescribe that). When I read the package insert, I note that it can be dangerous to take Clarithromycin and Verapamil at the same time. Now I'm terrified. Any advice?

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  • Posted

    What did the doctor say when you told him you were also taking verapamil ? The reasoning behind the potential interaction between the two medicines is that clarithromycin can reduce the amount of verapamil that is metabolised by the body, increasing the possibility of side effects such as low blood pressure. In view of the fact that you also take candesartan I think this is an important factor to consider and you may wish to discuss this with a doctor. Of course a doctor may take the view that the risk is low and the benefit of treating the infection outweighs this risk. But this is something only a doctor can decide.

    Incidentally what is the nature of your reaction to penicillin ? Many people state nausea or stomach upset butthese are not allergic reactions.

    Tarun (hospital pharmacist)

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  • Posted

    Thanks for your reply Tarun. He didn't say anything when I told him what I was taking - if he had, I would have asked questions. It's difficult to talk to another doctor because of it being a Sunday (and Public Holiday tomorrow). My own doctor isn't back in the office until Tuesday. I think I might take a chance and not take them - I think I'd prefer to risk letting the lung infection go untreated, rather than risk the problems from taking these drugs together. Then I will call my own doctor on Tuesday.
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  • Posted

    Oh and with regard to penicillin - last time I took it was probably 20 years ago. I developed swollen lips and a widespread rash,
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  • Posted

    Is there not any out of hours service near where you live, or maybe consider calling 111. Although there may be a risk with the tablets, there are other antibiotics which do not interact in the same way. Just don't want you to have to suffer when there are alternatives available !

    Tarun

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  • Posted

    The doctor who prescribed these antibiotics was at the out of hours service so not keen to go back there but phoning 111 is a good idea. Thanks!
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  • Posted

    Thanks for comments. Called 111 and saw another doctor this morning and it's all sorted now. I have actually improved enough to get better without antibiotics. She thinks it was probably viral. Oh - and I don't smoke or drink alcohol and have a healthy diet. I just caught a virus from my small grandson who just started nursery and is picking up a lot of bugs he wasn't exposed to previously. Tarun you were very helpful - thanks so much.
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  • Posted

    Glad to hear you're all better and all before the tuesday morning rush at the GP surgery !
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