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Macrobid & Generic Nitrofurantoin: Everything You Need to Know

speciality medications

March 7, 2023

Macrobid and nitrofurantoin, Macrobid’s generic alternative, can be very effective medications for people managing UTIs.

That doesn’t mean they’re always easy to find (or use, or pay for).

At our online Canadian pharmacy and international drugstore, we’re happy to sell Macrobid and nitrofurantoin for affordable prices (up to 78% lower than you’ll see in American brick-and-mortar stores).

We’re also passionate about providing practical information so you can be an informed patient.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about Macrobid and generic nitrofurantoin.

First things first: What are these medications – and what do they even do?

What is Macrobid (and Nitrofurantoin, Macrobid’s Generic)?

Macrobid (nitrofurantoin) is a prescription antibacterial medication that treats urinary tract infections. Typically, doctors recommend Macrobid when UTIs are relatively uncomplicated.

If an infection is caught early or does not present with any unexpected side effects or risk factors, doctors will prescribe Macrobid without progressing to stronger, more expensive medications.

What do Nitrofurantoin and Macrobid Do?

Nitrofurantoin is an antibiotic that works by halting the growth of bacteria within the urinary tract. After a patient takes Macrobid, they’ll need to take the drug twice daily for approximately one week.

The duration of treatment varies depending on the severity of the infection and the recommended prescription strength. Often, doctors prescribe about ten days’ worth of medication.

Nitrofurantoin is also available as a generic medication. It functions the same way as brand-name Macrobid and may be more affordable.

If your doctor has prescribed Macrobid, you may be able to ask them to prescribe you nitrofurantoin instead if you’re looking to save as much as possible on your UTI medication.

How Much Does Brand-Name Macrobid Cost?

In America, Macrobid retails for about $200.00–$300.00 for a course of treatment. That’s an average estimate, though. Depending on the strength of the required dose, the efficacy of your treatment, the location of your pharmacy and any insurance coverage you may have, that cost could vary wildly.

If you’d like to buy brand-name Macrobid for less, you can always check out the low prices available through an online Canadian drugs store.

Through, you can buy 28 capsules of brand Macrobid – enough for an entire course of treatment – for around $66.00, or about $2.30 per capsule (up to 78% savings).

How Much Does Generic Nitrofurantoin Cost?

Generic nitrofurantoin is more affordable than brand-name Macrobid. American patients tend to pay around $30.00 for a ten-day supply or a typical course of treatment. That’s about $1.50 per capsule.

Alternatively, you can buy generic nitrofurantoin for $0.90 per capsule through our safe online store.

Macrobid vs. Nitrofurantoin: Which is Best?

Although buying either brand Macrobid or generic nitrofurantoin is substantially more affordable through an online Canadian pharmacy, there’s no denying that the generic is still cheaper.

Does that mean it’s better? Or should you still choose the brand-name medication whenever possible?

(What’s the real difference between brand and generic, anyway?)

Generally speaking, brand-name medications and generic medications are the same. Generic manufacturers may include a few different inactive ingredients, or different ratios of inactive ingredients, to ensure that their formulations differ from the original manufacturer – but the two products are generally equivalent in terms of intended use, strength, and function.

However, this doesn’t mean that brand medications like Macrobid are always interchangeable with their generic versions.

After all, branding can matter. And some people – both doctors and patients included – prefer taking brand-name medications.

This may be because they trust the reputation of specific companies or know that a specific brand of medication has been used and vetted in published trials. Brand medications also tend to have a more extended history of use, so your doctor may just be more familiar with a more established brand medication over a newer generic offering.

If you’re interested in saving money, it may be worth trying generic nitrofurantoin. Or, if you experience unwanted side effects or a reaction to either Macrobid or nitrofurantoin, it may be worth trying the other medication: You could be reacting to one of the inactive ingredients.


Treatment with Macrobid FAQ

Now that we have a working idea of what Macrobid and nitrofurantoin are used for, let’s talk about what your experience with them might be like.

What are Macrobid Side Effects?

Although Macrobid and generic nitrofurantoin are considered safe for use (when prescribed by a doctor and used as instructed), that doesn’t mean they’re without some side effects.

After you begin taking Macrobid, you should be on the lookout for these common side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

As your body gets used to the medication, these side effects should disappear. And, remember, patients typically only take Macrobid for between 5-10 days. Any discomfort caused by Macrobid side effects should not last very long.

Less common, more severe side effects can happen after patients begin taking Macrobid or generic nitrofurantoin. These rarer effects include rashes, itchiness, dark urine, jaundice, confusion, and depression. In sporadic cases, patients may experience changes in their vision or hearing, difficulty swallowing, facial swelling, or seizures.

These do not happen often. Most patients tolerate Macrobid very well. It’s good to be aware of what could happen so you can monitor your symptoms. If any of these occur after you begin taking Macrobid, contact your healthcare provider or emergency services immediately.

Can I Use Macrobid and Alcohol at the Same Time?

While it’s understandable that you might wish to relax during UTI recovery with an alcoholic beverage, it’s not usually recommended to drink alcohol while you’re taking Macrobid.

Alcohol tends to magnify the side effects of prescription medication. Above, we discussed the possible side effects of Macrobid, ranging from dizziness to headaches, rashes, and depression. With alcohol, those side effects may become far more acute.

In addition, alcohol can interact with Macrobid and reduce its efficacy.

Finally, alcohol can irritate the bladder. This increases your chances of getting another UTI.

As a result, if you mix Macrobid and alcoholic beverages, you could end up with a migraine, a hangover, and an unhealed UTI (or even recurrent UTIs) even after treatment.

If I Can Take Macrobid for UTIs, What About Other Infections?

Macrobid is approved for use in treating UTIs. Currently, it’s not supposed to be used for treating anything else.

That may change in the future.

There have been some reports that indicate Macrobid could treat skin and lung infections, in some particular circumstances. However, the use of Macrobid can also cause lung complications over the long term.

Any off-label or non-UTI use of Macrobid is only good if your doctor recommends it and closely supervises your dosage and symptoms.

It’s also worth noting that if you have a lung or skin infection, specific antibiotics are out there besides Macrobid that can provide effective (and approved) healing and relief.

How Will My Doctor Know It's Time to Prescribe Macrobid?

Macrobid is used to kill the bacteria responsible for UTIs.

Aside from causing significant pain, UTIs are essential to treat for several reasons.

First, if you don’t treat a UTI, it won’t go away. Instead, you risk long-term kidney damage, chronic discomfort, more UTIs, and complications associated with kidney damage (like fever, pain, and nausea.)

If you start experiencing the symptoms of a UTI, it’s vital to get started with treatment. The symptoms of a UTI include pain during urination, lower abdominal pain, fatigue, fever, and cloudy or reddish urine.

After your doctor has confirmed that you have a UTI, they may prescribe an antibiotic such as Macrobid. They may also recommend that you take preventative measures to avoid UTIs, especially if you have a history of these infections.

Some standard preventative measures include staying hydrated, maintaining good genital hygiene, urinating after intercourse, and wearing cotton (or well-ventilated) underwear.


Are there Good Alternatives to Macrobid (Nitrofurantoin)?

Macrobid isn’t the only antibiotic that treats UTIs effectively.

In fact, Macrobid is only effective against specific strains of bacteria – Gram-negative bacteria. (Even more specifically, Macrobid is indicated for UTIs caused by E.coli, K.pneumoniae, and S.saprophyticus bacteria.)

Those aren’t the only types of bacteria that can cause UTIs. Your doctor can perform tests to learn more about the nature of your infection. Then, your doctor will prescribe the antibiotic that will be the most helpful for you as you heal.

Macrobid is one such antibiotic. Others include:

Each of these antibiotics works similarly – killing the responsible bacteria. Your doctor will help you determine which is best and recommend a dosing strategy.

Following your doctor’s directions is the best way to heal your UTI and move past any frustrating symptoms you may be experiencing.

Is Macrobid a Strong Antibiotic?

Macrobid is a common treatment for specific types of uncomplicated UTIs. In some cases, doctors may prescribe it immediately after UTI diagnosis, or they may see whether a first-line antibiotic (such as amoxicillin) can provide effective relief.

Macrobid has a relatively small range compared to other types of broader-spectrum antibiotics. As noted above, Macrobid is only approved for use against three types of bacteria. Other antibiotics have a much wider range.

Macrobid is considered very effective against its target types of bacteria, but it’s not considered overly strong. Some types of antibiotics have much more severe expected side effects, which can indicate medication strength.

If a UTI has progressed beyond a relatively uncomplicated stage, doctors will likely prescribe a stronger medication (such as Cipro, Levaquin, or IV-administered antibiotics.)

Doctors usually target prescribing the lowest-strength antibiotic that will get the job done in the fewest doses. Your doctor may start with amoxicillin or a lower-strength antibiotic first or prescribe you Macrobid immediately to take care of an uncomplicated UTI as quickly as possible.

How Quickly Does Macrobid Work?

Macrobid works efficiently to treat a urinary tract infection, but the total days you need to take it – or the number of days before symptoms clear – vary.

The rate at which Macrobid works depends on many factors. For example, if the infection is more extensive or more severe, the patient is ill to begin with, or if a particularly rare and resilient bacteria is causing the UTI, it will take longer for Macrobid to provide relief.

Most people who take Macrobid feel better a few days after starting treatment. However, it can take about a week to feel the full benefits of the medication.

If you don’t feel any effects after a few days, or if the infection doesn’t seem to clear up after a week, it’s time to contact your doctor. If your symptoms worsen after beginning treatment, that’s something to discuss with your care provider.

Finally, a reminder: Even if you feel back to your usual self shortly after taking medication, you must take the recommended course of antibiotics. Don’t stop taking your meds after three days, for example, if your doctor told you to take them for a whole week – no matter how great you may feel.

Your goal with antibiotics is to kill out the total population of bacteria causing your symptoms. That’s what the entire recommended course of treatment with antibiotics should do. Just because you feel better after, say, three days does mean the bacteria are all gone. If you stop your medications prematurely, you risk allowing the population of bacteria to regrow and having your UTI return.


Where to Find Macrobid and Generic Nitrofurantoin for Less

When your doctor prescribes medication to help you overcome pain and avoid complications associated with bacterial infections, that medication isn’t optional.

You need to fill that prescription.

And you don’t need anything standing in your way.

That includes standing in line and interacting with people at a crowded brick-and-mortar pharmacy. That also includes figuring out medication availability – and, all too often, paying incredible amounts of money just to get the antibiotics you need.

At, we think there should be a better way to manage and purchase prescription medications.

So we made one. If you’re an American seeking lower prices for prescription medication, send your prescription to us. Then, buy that medication through our site (in just a few clicks, or by calling our friendly customer care team). Your medication will be shipped straight to your front door, and you’ll money in the process.

Interested in learning more about how our international and Canada pharmacy site can simplify prescription medications for you?

Check out our Canadian online pharmacy reviews. We’re proud to have a 4.8/5 rating across hundreds of thousands of satisfied customer testimonials! Also check out our online pharmacy’s stellar Trustscore.

Call our seven-day-a-week customer service team – or contact us M-F to discuss your prescription with our pharmacists, free of charge.

And then, whenever you’re ready, place your order. You can do so over the phone by calling 1-866-539-5330, online, or even by fax or traditional mail. Our safe Canadian online pharmacy and international drugstore team looks forward to supporting you and your healthcare needs.

The information provided on the website is intended to facilitate awareness about healthcare products and medical conditions generally but it is not a substitute for professional medical attention or advice. You should always speak with a qualified healthcare practitioner before taking any prescription or non-prescription drug.
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