Metronidazole is bactericidal. It enters bacterial cell walls and disrupts DNA and inhibits DNA synthesis in certain microorganisms.
Oral metronidazole is absorbed well. It is usually given IV only if patients cannot be treated orally. It is distributed widely in body fluids and penetrates into CSF, resulting in high concentrations.
Metronidazole is metabolized presumably in the liver and excreted mainly in urine, but elimination is not decreased in patients with renal insufficiency.
Metronidazole is active against
Metronidazole is used primarily for infections caused by obligate anaerobes, often with other antimicrobials. Metronidazole is the drug of choice for bacterial vaginosis. The drug has other clinical uses (see Table: Some Clinical Uses of Metronidazole).
Some Clinical Uses of Metronidazole
Metronidazole is in pregnancy category B (animal studies show no risk and human evidence is incomplete, or animal studies show risk but human studies do not). Nonetheless, metronidazole should be avoided during the 1st trimester because mutagenicity is a concern.
Metronidazole enters breast milk; use during breastfeeding is not recommended.
Adverse effects include
Nausea, vomiting, headache, seizures, syncope, other CNS effects, and peripheral neuropathy can occur; rash, fever, and reversible neutropenia have been reported. Metronidazole can cause a metallic taste and dark urine. A disulfiram-like reaction may occur if alcohol is ingested within 7 days of use.
Drug NameSelect Trade