Metronidazole is an antibiotic that contains the active ingredient metronidazole that can safely and effectively treat bacterial vaginosis (BV).
Metronidazole tablets are commonly used to treat bacterial vaginosis (BV). The active ingredient is an antibiotic called metronidazole. It usually comes in the form of 400mg tablets, but is also available as a gel, cream or liquid. It works by works by stopping the growth of certain bacteria and parasites that cause bacterial vaginosis.
Metronidazole is the generic drug name, but these tablets are also available under the brand name Flagyl.
14 tablet(s) / 400 mg - £23.00
5 tablet(s) / 400 mg - £14.00
About Metronidazole Tablets
Metronidazole tablets contain metronidazole as the active ingredient, which is used to treat bacterial vaginosis (bacterial vaginosis). If you have bacterial vaginosis, metronidazole tablets can get rid of the symptoms.
- an unpleasant odour
- a thin, grey vaginal discharge
Metronidazole tablets work by stopping the growth of the bacteria which is causing the infection and making you unwell.
There are certain factors that can affect how well metronidazole tablets work for getting rid of the infection.
To ensure the tablets are safe for you to take, you must let your doctor know if you:
- have had a previous allergic reaction to metronidazole
- feel you will be unable to stop drinking alcohol while taking metronidazole tablets
- have liver problems
- are having dialysis
If any of the above apply to you or have done in the past, you should speak to your doctor before taking this medicine. If you are pregnant, there is a small chance that bacterial vaginosis may cause complications with pregnancy. You must see your doctor first for advice. Metronidazole is generally safe to use when breastfeeding, but you should let your doctor know if you are breastfeeding so they can recommend the best dose.
Metronidazole is a commonly used antibiotic, which belongs to the nitroimidazole class of antibiotics. Other names of nitroimidazoles include tinidazole and solosec.
As well as metronidazole tablets, there are gels and creams you can use as an alternative to treat bacterial vaginosis. If you do not react well to the tablet, or if you prefer to use a gel or cream, your doctor may prescribe another antibiotic like clindamycin (Dalacin Cream) to get rid of symptoms. Dalacin Cream can be inserted into the vagina with an applicator and is normally prescribed as a 7 day course.
Zidoval vaginal gel can also be used to treat bacterial vaginosis, it also contains metronidazole. The gel can be inserted into the vagina directly and should be used each day before going to sleep for 5 days in a row.
If you have used metronidazole tablets in the past and they have not fully cleared up your symptoms, or if you get BV often, your doctor may recommend using Dalacin Cream or Zidoval Gel instead.
As with any medicine, when taking metronidazole tablets for bacterial vaginosis, there can be side effects that you need to be aware of. Even if you do not get any, knowing what side effects to look out for can help.
You should see your doctor or pharmacist if you have:
- have yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- have fits (convulsions)
- are feeling sleepy more than usual
- problems with your eyesight, like double or blurred vision
Stop taking metronidazole tablets right away and get medical help if you have:
- swelling of the feet, hands, face, ankles, lips
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- an itchy, lumpy rash (hives)
- skin rashes with blistering, bleeding, or peeling of the skin
- high temperature
- a stiff neck
- difficulty speaking and feeling confused
Let your doctor or pharmacist know if you are currently taking, have recently taken, or plan to take any other medicine while taking metronidazole tablets. This includes medicines bought over the counter, like herbal medicines.
In particular, you should notify your doctor if you take:
- warfarin (blood thinning agent)
- lithium (medicine for mental illness)
- medicines used to treat epilepsy, like primidone, or phenytoin
- 5 fluorouracil (used in cancer treatment)
- ciclosporin (to reduce the risk of organs being rejected after transplant)
- busulfan for leukaemia (cancer of the blood cells)
If you have been prescribed metronidazole tablets for bacterial vaginosis, there are two doses that may be recommended. Metronidazole tablets can be taken as a 2g single dose, where you take 5 tablets all at once. The other option is to take one 400mg tablet twice a day for 7 days. Both doses are effective, but the single dose option can cause more side effects at first. If you get BV often, the 7 day course is recommended.
You should follow the advice given by your doctor when taking metronidazole tablets. If you take more than you should, you must contact your doctor right away, or go to your nearest A&E. Always bring the box, leaflet and any tablets left with you. This will help doctors to understand how much you have taken.
If you forget to take a dose, you should take it as soon as you remember. If it is nearly time for the next dose, skip the forgotten dose. Never take a double dose. Making up for a forgotten dose may cause severe side effects. If you often forget doses, it may be helpful to set an alarm that will remind you.
When you take metronidazole tablets, they must be swallowed whole with a drink of water. You should always take the tablets after you have eaten food.
Do not drink alcohol while taking metronidazole tablets, as well as 2 days after you have finished treatment. This is because alcohol can cause a variety of side effects.
- feeling and being sick
- hot flushes
- stomach pain
- a pounding heartbeat (palpitations)
You should start to feel better within a few days after taking metronidazole tablets. If you have bacterial vaginosis symptoms that are not going away after treatment ends, you should see your doctor. They may prescribe an alternate treatment and antibiotic to get rid of the infection.
Dr Kathryn Basford
Dr Kathryn Basford is a qualified GP who works as a GP in London, as well as with ZAVA. She graduated from the University of Manchester and completed her GP training through Whipps Cross Hospital in London.Meet our doctors
Article created: 16 Sep 2021
Last reviewed: 16 Sep 2021
Bacterial vaginosis (November 2018) NHS (accessed 26 August 2021)
Dalacin Cream 2% - Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) (May 2021) EMC (accessed 26 August 2021)
Metronidazole: antibiotic to treat bacterial infections (December 2018) NHS (accessed 26 August 2021)
Metronidazole 400 mg film-coated tablets – Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) (December 2020) EMC (accessed 26 August 2021)
Remedies to Relieve Bacterial Vaginosis (November 2020) WebMD (accessed 26 August 2021)