This derivative of erythromycin is altered in the body to yield a metabolite that retains antibacterial activity, but has altered pharmacokinetic properties. The activities of clarithromycin and its metabolite are similar to that of erythromycin, although concentrations required to inhibit legionellae and chlamydiae are generally lower.

Clarithromycin is better absorbed and less prone to cause abdominal discomfort than earlier macrolides. It has been successfully used in combination regimens for the treatment of infections with Helicobacter pylori and some mycobacteria, notably those of the M. avium group.


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