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What Is Tinidazole?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2016
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Tinidazole is a medication a doctor can prescribe to treat infections with protozoa, parasitic microorganisms found in many regions of the world. It will also fight some kinds of bacterial infections. Usually a short course of the drug is sufficient to address the infection, unless the organism is resistant. If the patient's infection does not resolve, the doctor may request more tests to learn more about the organisms involved and determine if a different medication would be more suitable.

Some common tinidazole side effects include diarrhea, nausea, and itchiness. The drug also has an unpleasant and strongly bitter taste that may make it difficult for some patients to take it regularly. It can help to place the medication as far back in the throat as possible and chase it with water, and patients should be aware that it can trigger excessive saliva production. Fatigue and headaches can also occur while on tinidazole, but these symptoms usually disappear after completing the course of medication.

Protozoa are especially common in untreated water and food prepared by people who do not practice good hygiene. Drugs like tinidazole are especially widely prescribed in the developing world, where it is often difficult to access hygiene to control infectious organisms. Travelers can be especially susceptible because they do not have any acquired resistance, and can grow quite ill from consuming contaminated food and water.

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This drug is closely related to metronidazole, another medication suitable for handling protozoan infections. Patients who have taken metronidazole in the past and experienced a bad reaction should tell their doctors, as tinidazole may not be safe for them. Another related compound is a known carcinogen. More study on tinidazole is necessary to determine if it also elevates cancer risks, and patients may want to ask their doctors about the latest information when discussing their prescriptions. Should further data indicate that the drug is a cancer risk, regulators may opt to remove it from the market.

Pregnant patients, particularly those in their first trimester, should not take this medication. It can also cause adverse effects in patients with epilepsy or kidney disease. Patients seeking treatment for protozoan infections like giardiasis and amebiasis should go over their medical histories before accepting prescriptions, to make sure tinidazole is the best choice for their needs. It is important to be aware that doctors may offer this drug for vaginal infections as well as protozoan infections. In all cases, patients should make sure they understand the dosing directions and follow these instructions carefully for the duration of therapy, to ensure complete elimination of the infection.

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