Side Effects of Nitrofurantoin

Updated February 21, 2017

Nitrofurantoin is a prescription medicine that is used for the treatment of bladder infections (also known as acute cystitis). It is an antibiotic. It works by halting the growth and spreading of bacteria. It is only used for treating bacterial infections (like bladder infections) as opposed to viral infections (like influenza). Some side effects of Nitrofurantoin are possible.

Common Side Effects

There are various possible common Nitrofurantoin side effects, which generally are seen as minor since they usually go away fairly quickly. These side effects are appetite loss, gas, mild diarrhoea, nausea and headache. If you have these side effects and find them particularly troublesome or persistent, you should consult your doctor.

Serious Side Effects

Serious side effects are also a possibility when taking Nitrofurantoin. These side effects require emergency medical help, as they could be dangerous. They are signs of lung issues (chest ache, chills, fever, abnormal or lingering coughing and shortness of breath), pale stools, confusion, disorientation, mental or mood changes (like depression), vision problems, blurry vision, general feeling of being unwell, extreme stomach cramps or stomachache, numbing, tingling or burning of the feet or the hands, watery or bloody stools, abnormal weakness or fatigue, blue nails or skin, unusual bleeding or bruising, persistent or severe nausea, appetite loss, peeling, swollen, red, or blistered skin, cheeks or nose skin rash (shaped like a butterfly), muscle or joint ache and persistent headache.

Allergic Reactions

Serious allergic reactions are also possible from taking Nitrofurantoin, though they are not very common. These reactions require emergency medical attention as soon as possible. Some allergic reaction symptoms include chest tightness, having problems breathing, hives, itching, skin rash, abnormal hoarseness and swelling of the tongue, lips, face and mouth.


Nitrofurantoin is not an appropriate medication option for everybody, for safety purposes. If you have a history of liver issues or jaundice (due to taking this medication), serious kidney disease, are heavily pregnant (in the last month of pregnancy), or have not been urinating very much (or at all), you should avoid taking Nitrofurantoin.


Nitrofurantoin overdose can be very dangerous, and if you suspect that that is what you are experiencing, you should seek emergency medical assistance. Some signs of Nitrofurantoin overdose are nausea and throwing up.

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