tell me about your experiences with nitrofurantoin

And now for something completely different…

Nitrofurantoin (brand name Macrobid or Macrodantin) is a drug given to treat specific types of infection, namely of the urinary tract. It is sometimes given prophylactically, for those who have repeated infections.

I was treated for the first time with nitrofurantoin this past week, and by day three of the meds, my skin was as white as a sheet, I was exhausted, and I had muscle and joint pain from the waist down, interfering with sitting, driving, laying down, and walking. (Did I mention I was also a bit snippy?) By day 4, my MD took me off the drug, but I’m still having pains.

The MD’s advice was to let it work its way out of my system, and the P&G pharma rep was very nice, but had no information she could give me beyond what was in the pdf they provide to consumers. There, it states that there are some who suffer from arthralgia and myalgia (joint and muscle pains, respectively).

I’m wondering who out there has had a similar experience, and what they were able to do to mitigate the joint and muscle pains. Thanks in advance.


Filed under arthralgia, joint pain, macrobid, macrodantin, muscle pain, myralgia, nitrofurantoin, pain relief, side effects

48 responses to “tell me about your experiences with nitrofurantoin

  1. Isn’t that one of the substances mentioned on the Mitchell MLB report??

  2. Smartass. In the interest of full disclosure, I saw no increase in homeruns during my doping phase.

  3. Dani

    I took two doses of nitrofurantoin for a uti and I have had chronic joint pain, numbness and tingling in my left leg ever since. My doctor told mr it had nothing to do with the medication but I think otherwise. It started the day I took the medication. And I have no other injuries to my leg . She claims I have bursitis but it is no coincidence that I randomly aquired inflammation in my hip the same day I started my meds

  4. Jessica

    I am on my 4th day right now and having muscle pain in my legs and also a tingling sensation. I have also had fatigue and some nausea and headaches. After reading what I have been reading online I am going to stop taking it. I called my doctor this morning and they said to give it 1 more day and see if the symptoms subside. What is your recommendation? I believe I should stop taking it immediately.

    • My MD had me stop immediately – since I get my primary healthcare from a clinic attached to a teaching hospital, I was able to get a quick appointment with a resident and make sure the infection itself was cleared. Not everyone has that option, but I would call your MD on Monday, first thing. I can’t tell you what to do, but I’m glad to have had the advice I did.

  5. Lynn Douglas

    I have a chronic UTI problem and unfortunately the only antibiotic that works for me is nitrofurantoin. Way back when I first started taking this drug it took a long time for me to associate the joint and muscle pains as a side effect of the drug. My doctor seemed surprised that I was having these symptoms, dont health practitioners read the instructions on drugs they prescribe. ? I have just recently had yet another UTI and kidney infection and once again the joint pain has returned, this time my knee bones are affected and also I have to be careful making sudden movement as this causes a sharp muscle pull which is very painful. I am hoping it wont take too long to get this out of my system. So be warned I have read of others who get precisely these problems with this drug.

  6. Patricia

    Was just prescribed nitrofurantoin and have had severe pain in my ankles, wrist and knees since two days of medication, even when at rest, the pain is nearly unbearable. Have had no issues prior to this that would explain the pain.

  7. Been taking Macrobid for yrs
    15 yrs of recurring infections, this is the only thing that works
    I have horrible side effects with Cipro and Norflox now

    The last time I was on it I had to stop after 3 days because it made me so sick
    This time, I’m on day 2 and I feel like hell!
    Only taken 3 pills and I’m dreading taking next dose :(
    I can usually suck it up and take full 7-10 day course
    My muscles are so sore, I feel achy and am cold on and off

    New symptom???
    Unsure if I should continue
    I don’t know what other options there are for me anymore…

  8. Fanie

    I’m on my last day with this med for a UTI and it’s actually my first experience with one. I didn’t experience any of the side effects except for mild gas. But honestly the main one would be muscle pain on my mid right thigh and some pain on my neck and bottom ribs. I never did call the doc to tell her about it because I thought I was going paranoid. I’ll end up telling my physician about this next this upcoming Tuesday and see if there any problems with my leg that can effect me badly. I hope not. It sucks begin paranoid and with anxiety. :/

  9. I just took 3 doses of macrobid and am totally out of commission. I feel like I have the flu – body aches, joint aches, neck and lower back and legs especially ache, I am very fatigued, awful headache, chills. Going to stop taking this.

    • I am 6 months out from Macrobid toxicity. It has been pure hell with liver injury, peripheral neuropathy and more. Finally getting better but it has been a nightmare and Drs are acting like they don’t want to touch me with a ten foot pole. I have written about my experiences on my blog.

      • Irene

        Hi Heather,
        I took macrobid for 5 days, it’s been 2 weeks since. I’m experiencing many very painful, disturbing neurological and muscular symptoms. Did you do anything, find anything, that helped you recover? Have you fully recovered? I’d appreciate your feedback, any advice.

      • Irene,

        Hi there – I am so sorry you are experiencing this. I will say that I am much better than where I was. The neuropathy and liver improved and are now normal. However, I currently see a PT and an OT twice a week for the muscle issues. The OT is actually helping me via neuro therapy. Kind of like kinesiology – sort of retraining my muscle by re-wiring my brain. They have been the most helpful thru this whole ordeal. I am still exhausted constantly and sleep terribly. I wish I had better news. But some of my issues may have been compounded by the surgery itself as well. Also, I took it for 2 weeks. So you will likely not suffer the same fate.

        I wish you all of the luck!!!!!


      • Marla

        Please send me any info on macrobid detox. In hospital now and want take for numbness.

    • Angela

      took it for 3 days same symptoms as you, the sheets on the bed would hurt my body, I ached from head to toes. I knew it was the macrobid, why are the medical professionals so reluctant to acknowledge this?

  10. Please everyone – Report your adverse reactions to the FDA. I am so tired of hearing Doctors say that this doesn’t happen to people and it is too rare to consider. The stats are low because nothing is being reported. I just want medical professionals to take us seriously!!

    • Lauren

      I am suffering nearly a month after finishing awful macrobid with leg pains. It’s making me crazy! Did you find any supplements that helped you?

  11. Karen G

    Relieved to find this thread as I thought I was going mad! Just finished a course of nirtrofuantoin and I went back to the dr yesterday thinking the UTI had spread to my kidneys as I ache everywhere and have shooting pains down my legs. My sample said the UTI is now clear, but I feel awful. Am hoping if it is a side effect that it will wear off in the next few days….

  12. uiyer77

    I am sensitive to medication. I don’t take much if I can avoid it. I was prescribed Nitrofurantoin mono 100mg. yesterday for clearing up my UTI. I am supposed to take it for 5 days! Short enough duration right? Except, I just took one pill, my UTI symptoms feels better, but my right knee blew up, and is super inflamed and I cannot bend it without excruciating pain. Since this was the new thing i have added to my diet, routine, etc. it seemed logical to check on side effects. Sure enough, I saw this blog. And voila, I am on this blog. I will stop taking this med. immediately. As patients, you and I know our bodies best, and I would advice everyone to respect their gut and their own body first, and not blindly follow doctor’s recommendations. He is human after all, and we should stand up for our own health and wellbeing and be very vocal. We not only help ourselves, but caution others from going through similar pain!

  13. Trisha Murray

    I have had nitrofurantoin for UTI several times before with no ill effects. This time on day 3 I had diarrhoea and my doctor told me stop. Diarrhoea has gone but I have bad balance problems and think I am going to fall. Anyone had this and how long before side effects clear the system. I live in the UK


  14. Maria

    I started taking this medication on Friday for UTI by end of day Saturday i had trouble walking and getting into bed that night. I thought i had pulled my back during house cleaning that day. The next day Sunday I only took one pill because i forgot to take the 2nd one thankfully i was able to walk but still very sore still didn’t think it was the antibiotic side affect. Not until today Monday that Im still feeling very sore and having trouble walking did I realize the only thing different I had done this weekend was take this medicine. I looked online and found muscle aches to be a side effect. WOW! called my Dr and she told me to stop taking it and prescribed something else. haven’t picked it up from the pharmacy so i don’t know what she prescribed. I hope these aches go away. Im 37 and Im walking hunched over like Im 80! back of my legs, butt muscles, and all of my back up to my shoulders ache really bad. I feel like someone beat the crap out of me.

  15. Sara

    I’m so glad I found this blog.
    I took 4 doses of macrobid and developed what felt like the flu, felt I couldn’t walk even. Extremely bad nausea to the point I couldn’t eat or drink for days, and ended up in the ER on an IV. I haven’t taken it in 4 days and I still feel absolutely horrible. Crushing pain in my neck too. Please can anyone update this if the symptoms eventually cleared?

    I mentioned these side effects to both the ER nurse, doctor and even my gyn who prescribed it and all say it’s not the medication. Why does nobody acknowledge these side effects? I saw this drug on a dangerous drug list online.
    I hope I haven’t done permanent damage to myself by taking this on the advice of my doctor.

    • Susanne Hastings

      Sara, How are you doing now? I just took 6 doses last week and side effects are still present. My mom had same drug similar effects only worse due to her age. She has been off it for about 3 weeks & still is having problems. Let me know if you are still having issues.

  16. don

    been taking it for 3.5 days and developed sudden shoulder stabbing pains all the way to the joint has same problem with cipro

  17. Carole sounelka

    Day 5 of Macrobid. Totally exhausted and foggy brained. Hate this antibiotic but have bad UTI will never take it again.

  18. GC

    I know this comes several years too late for your post, but I thought I’d add my two cents. I noticed muscle pain from day 1: lower back and hips. Initially, I thought this was a symptom of my UTI. But while my UTI improved, the muscle pains persisted. By day 3/4, I ended up with intolerable hip/buttock arthritis-like pain that made me limp when I walked. The pain subsided after I completed the treatment. I’m fairly certain it was the nitrofurantoin. Oh, there was tummy pain, diarrhoea and headache too. I feel sorry for elderly women who may need to take this prophylactically. They’re probably on pain killers thinking they have arthritis!

  19. Karen Bush

    I was prescribed the antibiotic Nitrofurantion for a UTI .
    After just 2.5 days of this Med, 100mg every 12 hours , I noticed a problem .
    I woke on the third day feeling horrible . Weakness in the knees and legs , An overall feeling of ill health , along with severe muscle pain in my right shoulder and muscle pain from my shoulder to my elbow ( right side ) still persists .
    I stopped this med immediately , fatigue and muscle pain still persists .
    How long will this pain persist for a formerly 100 percent healthy person ?
    Did 5 capsules of this Drug change my life and who is responsible ?


  20. Susanne Hastings

    I received a double whammy. My mom was prescribed it three weeks ago. She was totally washed out & I kept telling her dr’s something was not right. About a week or two later she started having a dry cough. She already had nerophathy but it got worse. It also affected her mental ability to do simple tasks. She also has Parkinsons so I didn’t connect the two together at first.
    Three weeks later I was prescribed the same drug. After the first dose I was so agitated and angry I flew off the handle at a simple thing. I was not able to control my emotions nor anger. By day two I was having flu like symptoms accompanied by depression because I could not figure out why I would be so angry and agitated. I cried all day. Every joint and muscle ached. I called the dr. & let them know something was not right. They made me feel more crazy. By the third day I called the dr again. I told them I was tingly and had pains in my chest. By this time I had remembered the research I had done with my fathers pulmonary fibrosis and recalled this drug being a contributor to that disease. Dr’s office called me back & said they would switch me to Cipro. I told them I was not taking Cipro as I had a bad experience with that drug and it also has side affects that can be permanent. After several more hours they called me back & told me the culture was fine & to stop taking anything. I started taking monistat 3 because after 10 days on Bactrim what I thought was a reoccurring uti perhaps was now a yeast issue. My symptoms subsided after one dose of Monistat. Over the next two days my chest is tight and breathing is labored. I couldn’t catch my breath, and my legs and feet are really numb arms & legs weak. I am walking & drinking lots of water to try to get this out of my system. Like my mother, I am struggling to do some simple tasks that involve coordination and I am still very easily aggitated.
    If there is a law suit against this drug please let me know where it is. This drug should not be in our marketplace and no doctor should be prescribing it to their patients.

    • Suzanne Rehburg

      I felt exactly like you on this awful antibiotic. Got fever, chills, chest hurt, short of breath, etc. I am stopping this med. My joints ache, cant sleep, constantly hungry. I lost it completely yesterday crying and screaming etc. I didnt know what was wrong until today when I read side effects.

      • Susanne Hastings

        Suzanne.. I have been off this med since Saturday today is Wednesday & is the first morning I felt the tingling & nervousness had finally gone. Can’t speak for any long term affects. My dr just said she was sorry I had that reaction. The nurse claimed that they were not aware of the potentially devastating side effects. Perhaps the drug rep who pushes the prescription failed to disclose those little details. Hope you recover quickly & fully.

      • Suzanne Rehburg

        Thanks so much for the info. I have begun to feel a little better today. Began drinking cranberry juice with no sugar added (R.W. Knudsen) mixed with water. I am going to start taking cranberry with d mannose vitamins. We had a dog who was diabetic and got alot of bladder infections. I researched and found out about these vitamins and began giving them to her and she never had another bladder infection. I do not want to see another antibiotic anytime soon. Doctors dont tell you about alternative treatments. They write a prescription and send you on your way.

  21. Elaine chetwynd

    I am glad I have seen all these cases of side effects, I have been in so much pain since taking these tablets. I was first prescribed Nitrofurantoin for a uti about six weeks ago as the bug they said I had was only sensitive to that antibiotic. After a five day course I went back to my GP with the same symptoms and also a severe pain around my left kidney, she immediately sent me to hospital to have the same antibiotic but this time intravenously every day for 5 days. Was very ill whilst taking them and struggling to walk but finished the course. There was no improvement and was told by a consultant that I may have a kidney stone because of all the pain I was suffering. Finally had an ultrasound scan which didn’t pick anything up. Still in severe back pain so Gp gave me another 7 day course of nitrofurantoin. QThe pain was so severe I had to go to A and E who gave me blood tests and xRays and told me I hadn’t got a kidney stone or a blood clot on my lung and that the pain was just muscle pain and just take pain killers. The pain eased for a while but still keeps coming back as bad as ever, surely the doctors must know of these side effects! Why don’t they tell people so as not to worry them, I was thinking I had something terrible wrong with me and looking at all your experiences it is just side effects from antioboitics. Since going back to GP he has told me this antibiotic does cause chest inflammation. Will keep you informed how long the pain does last for.

  22. TJ Hyde

    i was prescribed Nitrofuantoin for a uti 4 days ago and on day 2 I started have severe foot, knee and hand joint pains. I was getting over the flu and at first just thought it was a continuation of flu aches and pains and arthritis but pain and swelling worse on third day, could hardly walk or use hands. today i looked up side effects and found this site and so glad I did as I’ve stopped taking the meds and am hoping pain goes away. Thank you for all the posts that helped me find the real reason for the symptoms before even worse ones possibly affected me.

  23. J Biz

    I took it for 28 days ten years back, and remember no problems. But I had another 28 day course which finished about a month ago, and I’m still having non stop pain in seemingly random locations in my abdomen – not seriously painful, but disturbing. I’m wondering if I should be blaming the Nitrofurantoin. Anyone else experienced this?

  24. Cher

    I took the generic version of microbid one year ago for a UTI and had horrific side affects including an achilles that almost ruptured and is still bothering me.
    The only thing that actually began to help was 20 mule team Borax. I dissolved a teaspoon of it in a litre of water and then drank 3 teaspoons of the borax water in the morning and in the evening. The drug activated a histamine intolerance in me and set up an inflammatory reaction in my joints… The first three days I was so sick and I should have know it was the drug but I thought I had just let the UTI go for so long that it was really bad. I am about 75% better thanks to the borax, and now I am also using vitamin C with quercitin for the histamine load and a few other things. Good luck to you all….

    • JenC

      Hi – I’m glad to read your post and that are doing better. Trying to determine if I should do the borax. I have terrible knee, back and neck pain and trouble walking since I started this drug. I just dont know if that is due to an inflamatory reaction etc but sounds like it is.
      Also, to be clear on the borax – you mixed 1 teaspoon of the borax into a liter of water. But then from that liter – you only drink 3 teaspoons of that mixture in the am and pm
      Thanks so much

  25. JenC

    I am so glad I found this blog. I am having horrible symptoms that started after a day after starting the generic of macrobid for a UTI. I thought at first it I had gotten the flu. I was in bed for days with flu like symptoms – all my joints hurt – it hurt to stand up, my knee and back pain were unbearable and my neck had extreme stiffness. I was walking around hunched over or crawling at times.I went to urgent care and even brought the bottle with me to see if this was a side effect and the Dr said no but he sent me to the ER because I was in so much pain and very pale. In ER they said I have the flu (I showed that ER dr the antibiotic as well). When looking online you dont see symptoms like this on webmd and any of the larger heath sites so I thought I might have lyme disease or something else due to the pain. Now I realize it is the macrobid. Any other ideas on how to detox this out of my system? Will try anything – it still hurts to walk….

  26. Renee

    I just want to encourage anyone out there who is experiencing muscle pain after taking this antibiotic to explore alternative options if they are still experiencing pain—I never take antibiotics, yet took this for a bladder/kidney infection and had this reaction. After several days of extremely tight calves I made the connection and ceased taking. I have found relief for the leg pain already with accupuncture/accupressure Read Here:

    Just know you have options beyond pharmaceuticals. Don’t panic and know that your nerves can heal if you empower your body to do its day job (heal) —amazing things can happen. Alternatively, the book “Energy Medicine” by Donna Eden has shown me several techniques to work on the Meridians (what is stimulated in Accupuncture) where my pain has been (not ironically: the bladder meridian) with just hands on touch and I have felt my legs “working” things out.

    Good luck to you!


  27. I took 3 doses of this antibiotic for a UTI. I woke up this morning with the worst pain in my hands I have ever experienced. It hurts to type this message so I’ll keep it short for now and post an update soon.

  28. Cindy

    I took 6 days of this drug for a UTI that ended up coming back negative from the lab. By the 2nd day my stomach hurt and I had indigestion. It’s been 2 weeks and I still have the symptoms.

  29. Kim

    I’m currently taking this drug. I have three days to go. The side effects are awful. After two days on it I was overcome with exhaustion. I spent a day in bed with a terrible headache. I made it through yesterday ok but my dose at night brought aching pain down the back of my legs making it hard to sleep. I’m also short of breath. I’ll struggle to finish as I fear what will happen if I don’t but going forward I will never take this drug again.

  30. ThoughtMonster

    I was prescribed this drug on Sunday for UTI, at an urgent care clinic. I don’t have a regular doctor. I’ve taken five doses and my arms are numb. No pain or other side effects. The Urgent Care doctor just told me to go straight to the ER, but I don’t see what they can do about it. So now I’ve got numb arms and a UTI and no antibiotics. I’m hoping that the numbness goes away and I can just try again to treat the UTI, with something else. It’s only been about 14 hours since my last dose.

  31. Marsha gee

    The day I started taking this medication I was nauseous. It didn’t occur to me that it was side effects. I felt like I caught the flu I was exhausted I felt like someone drained all of the energy out of my body I was sleeping 12 and 13 hours a night I had a dry cough, headache also I got winded really easily running up the stairs made my chest hurt I literally feel like I was dying! I stopped taking the medicine I’m sitting on the couch it’s been 34 hours and both of my knees are now completely swollen and I am freaking out! I will never take this medication again what a horrible medication

  32. I was prescribed macrobid for an UTI in August of 2017, after 1 dose I experienced body aches, my hips, butt, thighs, lower back, also headache and nausea, it’s 3 months later and I’m still having pain in my hips, making it hard to walk. I used to be very active, hiking, cycling, skiing, tennis and now I can’t do any activity without pain. If anyone knows how to detox from this, please let me know!

  33. At about the third to fourth day on Nitrofurantoin, I came down with severe sudden chills, body aches and joint pain. It got to the point where I was in so much pain that I went to the emergency room. They tested for everything, nothing came back abnormal. They were perplexed and I felt like a drug addict looking for pain pills. I finally mentioned I was getting over a UTI and could it be a kidney infection that was somehow making me feel this way. The doctor asked what I was currently taking. When I told him Nitrofurantoin he knew right away it was the cause. I received a shot of morphine that shut down the pain almost immediately. He told me to stop taking stop taking the drug Immediately, we waited for other tests to come back and after hours I was released. I was pain free for about the next four hours when the pains crept back in but at a much less impact. By the second day off the drug my body aches pretty much disappeared. I have never felt such pain, chills and flu-like symptoms while taking ANY antibiotic! Nitrofurantoin definitely made my allergic reaction list on all my med records!

  34. Debra

    This is day 3 for me and from the beginning, I had horrible chills, muscle and joint pai, nausea vomiting, diarrhea, extreme exhaustion and restlessness. I feel like I’m taking going back to the doctor tomorrow.

  35. Debra

    There are other effective drugs out there! Once they do culture and sensitivity they know what drugs work. Nitrofurantoin should be a last ditch drug for multi resistant organisms.

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