Nitrofurantoin is a nitrofuran antibacterial that acts by inhibiting bacterial protein, DNA, RNA and cell wall synthesis. It is used in the treatment of uncomplicated lower urinary tract infections (UTIs), including prophylaxis or long-term suppressive therapy in recurrent infections.  

Learning objectives   

After reading this article, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Recognise precautions that need to be taken by the pharmacist and considerations to take into account when preparing nitrofurantoin suspension
  • Explain how to prepare nitrofurantoin suspension extemporaneously, including the components, methods of preparation, packaging, storage and labelling
  • Counsel patients/carers on the appropriate use of nitrofurantoin oral suspension and precautions to be taken.

Competencies (2016) addressed: 1.1.3, 1.1.5, 1.3.1, 1.5.1, 1.5.3, 1.5.4, 1.6.1, 3.1.2, 3.2.3, 3.2.5, 3.4.1, 3.4.2, 3.4.3, 3.4.4, 3.4.8, 4.4.5, 4.5.2, 4.5.3.

Competencies (2010) addressed: 1.1.1, 1.2.1, 1.2.2, 1.4.1, 3.3.2, 3.4.1, 3.4.2, 4.2.1, 4.2.2, 4.2.3, 4.3.1, 4.3.3, 5.1.1, 5.1.2, 5.1.3, 5.1.4, 5.1.5, 5.1.6, 5.2.1, 7.1.4.

Nitrofurantoin is also indicated, although not as first-line treatment, for uncomplicated UTIs in children.

In Australia, nitrofurantoin is available as 50 mg and 100 mg capsules. A nitrofurantoin oral liquid is not marketed in Australia but may be available through the Special Access Scheme (SAS). For patients with difficulties swallowing capsules, a compounded oral liquid may be an appropriate alternative to mixing medicine with food or drink, which can make it difficult to assess how much of a dose has been taken, or provide convenient dosing for paediatric populations.

Want to learn more? PSA members can access the full article and assessment questions here to earn up to 1.5 Group 2 CPD credits.

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