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Metronidazole ˌme-trə-ˈnīd-ə-ˌzōl

By Hans P. Schlecht, MD, MSc, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine
Christopher Bruno, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine

Metronidazole is used to treat pelvic, abdominal, soft-tissue, gum, and tooth infections and abscesses in the lungs or brain. It is the preferred drug for vaginal infections caused by bacteria such as Gardnerella species (bacterial vaginosis).

Metronidazole works by disrupting the production of genetic material by bacteria. As result, the bacteria die.

Metronidazole is usually taken by mouth but can be given intravenously.


Common Uses

Some Side Effects

Vaginitis caused by Trichomonas (a protozoa) or Gardnerella species

Pelvic and abdominal infections


Headache (especially if the drug is taken with alcohol)

Metallic taste

Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy)

Dark urine

Use of Metronidazole During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Metronidazole should not be taken during the 1st trimester of pregnancy because birth defects are possible.

Women who are breastfeeding should not take metronidazole.

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