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Flagyl 500 mg Medication Over-the-Counter

This article explains to readers what kind of medication Flagyl (Metronidazole) is, how to take it, and what side effects it can cause to be careful and mind the necessary precautions.

What Are Metronidazole / Flagyl Pills?

Flagyl over-the-counter is a generic medication for easy and effective treatment of different types of bacterial infections. This drug is very popular among patients because, despite its low price, it can quickly provide desirable effects. The main ingredient and active substance of this preparation is Metronidazole, a specific type of antibiotic, also known as nitroimidazole antimicrobials. It stops bacterial growth and provides efficient treatment for infections of the reproductive system, skin, gastrointestinal tract, bones and joints, heart, lungs, blood, nervous system, and other human body organs. It is also used for treating yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis in women, and different kinds of sexually transmitted diseases.

All in all, Metronidazole is very effective in treating protozoal and anaerobic bacterial infections. It kills bacteria by disrupting their DNA. The preparation can be rapidly absorbed from the GI tract and metabolized by the liver. It can also be used with other antibiotics to treat infections of mixed-bacterial origin. The drug is well-compatible with penicillins, aminoglycosides, and cephalosporins.

Dosage and Intake

This is an over-the-counter medicine, so you can buy it in brick-and-mortar drugstores and online. It has the form of pills and suppositories. Both forms have 500 mg of the active ingredient in them. Suppositories are administered to be used once per day, while pills are taken orally 1-4 times daily. The usual intake is 1-2 times per day, but your physician can recommend 3-4 times per day in especially severe cases. The recommendations are individual, depending on the overall health condition. Never increase or decrease the dose on your own. You should not cancel the intake without a consultation with your doctor, even if your health has obviously improved. Only your physician or pharmacist can decide on further intake and dosage.

You cannot take Flagyl for the prevention of infectious diseases. That can boost the risk of obtaining infections. You can also not treat flu, bad colds, or other viral infections with it.

Your body excretes the drug within 24 hours from the time you stop your treatment course.

Side Effects of Flagyl (Metronidazole)

The body's reactions to Flagyl are also highly individual. The most common of them are nausea, abdominal pain, or vomiting. Other side effects can include the following:

  • headache;
  • dizziness;
  • fever;
  • allergic reactions;
  • heart issues;
  • low blood pressure;
  • anaphylaxis.

Allergic reactions expressed by an itchy rash, throat, lips, tongue, and eyelids swelling are especially dangerous and can even be life-threatening. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your physician immediately.

There may also be side effects such as a metallic taste in the mouth, leukopenia, anorexia, brown-reddish urine, and peripheral neuropathic. Some of them may require instant medical help.


You need to reduce alcohol consumption during the treatment. You need to inform your therapist about any drugs you are consuming at present. Medications containing propylene glycol should be avoided. Be cautious about taking indirect anticoagulants and non-depolarizing muscle relaxants alongside Flagyl.

If you need long-term treatment, blood testing is strongly desirable. Always inform your doctor if you suffer from the following:

  • leukopenia;
  • Cockayne syndrome;
  • allergic reactions or hypersensitivity to Metronidazole;
  • liver failure;
  • central nervous system disorders, including epilepsy;
  • Crohn disease;
  • renal failure.

The medication cannot be administered in the first trimester of pregnancy or during the lactation period (if it is needed badly, doctors usually recommend stopping breastfeeding during the treatment). The second and third trimesters of pregnancy can also become a contraindication, depending on the overall woman’s health condition.

Metronidazole for Animals

The medication is widely used in veterinary. It is prescribed to treat cats and dogs for protozoal infections, such as Giardia, Trichomonas, Entamoeba, and Balantidium. Veterinarians also prescribe it for anaerobic bacterial infections. Metronidazole has an immune-modulating effect, so inflammatory bowel disease can also be treated with it.

You can use this medication to treat colitis caused by other antibiotics intake and periodontal disease in cats. It is also helpful for Clostridium perfringens enterotoxemia, diarrhea of undetermined etiology, tetanus, pancreatic insufficiency caused by bacteria, and severe liver problems. The preparation can be combined with corticosteroids to deal with inflammatory bowel disease and gum diseases, like stomatitis and gingivitis, in cats. Metronidazole is also a component of the topical gel used for skin infections in cats and dogs.

Veterinarians also use Metronidazole in horses with other antibiotics to treat such mixed bacterial infections as peritonitis, pleuropneumonia, and severe abdominal abscesses. It can also be applied as a preventive method after colic and abdominal surgeries to reduce the risk of mixed bacterial infections.

Since Metronidazole can cause birth defects in laboratory-tested animals, you should not use it in your pregnant and lactating pets. You mustn’t use it in young puppies and kittens, either. If the animal suffers from liver or kidney disease, the medication should be cautiously administered.

The main problem with using Metronidazole in animals is its bad taste. It can cause excessive salivation, nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, gaggling, regurgitation, and pawing the mouth. Such side effects as diarrhea, weakness, liver failure, depression, or lethargy, are pretty uncommon in animals. If such symptoms appear, consider overdosing and immediately show your pet to the veterinarian.

author: Wing Yap