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Drugs and diseases reference index

Drugs reference index «Ketek»


Generic name: TelithromycinBrand names: Ketek

Why is Ketek prescribed?

Ketek is a new type of antibiotic known as a ketolide. It is used to treat bacterial infections in the lungs and sinuses, specifically:

  • Acute (severe or sudden) flare-ups of chronic bronchitis
  • Acute sinusitis
  • Pneumonia

Most important fact about Ketek

Like all antibiotics, Ketek could cause a severe inflammation of the colon (known as pseudomembranous colitis). It results from bacterial overgrowth in the colon and ranges in severity from mild to life-threatening. Contact your doctor right away if you develop any of the following:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Low-grade fever
  • Bloody stools

How should you take Ketek?

Try to take Ketek at the same time every day. It may be taken with or without food.

Your doctor will only prescribe Ketek to treat a bacterial infection; it will not cure a viral infection, such as the common cold. It's important to take the full dosage schedule of Ketek, even if you're feeling better in a few days. Not completing the full dosage schedule may decrease the drug's effectiveness and increase the chances that the bacteria may become resistant to Ketek and other antibiotics.

--If you miss a dose...

Take the forgotten dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

--Storage instructions...

Store at room temperature.

Ketek side effects

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe to continue using Ketek.

  • Side effects may include:Diarrhea, nausea, headache, dizziness

Why should Ketek not be prescribed?

You should not use Ketek if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it or to macrolide antibiotics such as erythromycin (E-Mycin, Erytab, Erythrocin, and others), Zithromax, and Biaxin.

You should not use Ketek if you are currently taking the medications pimozide (Orap) or cisapride.

Special warnings about Ketek

Use Ketek with caution if you have myasthenia gravis. The drug can worsen your symptoms and cause severe--and even life-threatening--reactions. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have this illness.

Ketek may cause visual problems, including blurred vision or difficulty focusing. These episodes can last for several hours. Problems with vision are most likely to occur after the first or second dose, although they can occur any time during treatment. If visual problems occur, avoid driving a motor vehicle, operating heavy machinery, or engaging in other hazardous activities. Also avoid looking quickly from one object to another. If you have vision problems that interfere with your daily activities, notify your doctor.

Ketek could potentially affect heart rhythm and cause changes on an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). Tell the doctor if you develop an irregular heartbeat or if you faint while taking the drug. Use Ketek cautiously, if at all, if you have a condition that makes you susceptible to heartbeat irregularities, such as low potassium or magnesium levels, a severely slow heartbeat, or a congenital heart rhythm disturbance.

There have been reports of liver function problems in people taking Ketek. Use Ketek cautiously if you've ever had liver problems, including hepatitis or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes).

Possible food and drug interactions when taking Ketek

Ketek should never be combined with the drugs pimozide (Orap) or cisapride.

Ketek could alter levels of certain cholesterol-lowering drugs, including atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor, Altocor), and simvastatin (Zocor). This could increase the risk of drug-induced muscle damage. Therapy with these cholesterol drugs should generally be stopped until treatment with Ketek is finished.

Ketek should also be avoided if you're taking medication to correct an abnormal heart rhythm. Examples include quinidine, procainamide (Procanbid), and dofetilide (Tikosyn).

When Ketek is taken together with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decrease, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Ketek with the following:Carbamazepine (Tegretol)Cyclosporine (Sandimmune)Digoxin (Lanoxin)Diuretics (water pills) such as furosemide (Lasix) or hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL, Esidrix)Ergot-containing drugs such as CafergotHexobarbitalItraconazole (Sporanox)Ketoconazole (Nizoral)Metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol-XL)Midazolam (Versed)Phenytoin (Dilantin)Rifampin (Rifadin, Rifamate, Rimactane)Sirolimus (Rapamune)Tacrolimus (Prograf)Theophylline (Theo-Dur)

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

The effects of Ketek during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. Ketek should be used only if the benefits outweigh the potential risks to the baby. Notify your doctor right away if you become pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking Ketek.

It is not known whether Ketek appears in human breast milk. However, it did appear when given to breastfeeding animals. If Ketek is essential to your health, the doctor may advise you to stop breastfeeding until your treatment is finished.

Recommended dosage for Ketek


The usual dose is two 400-milligram tablets (for a total of 800 milligrams) taken once a day at the same time. For acute flare-ups of chronic bronchitis or acute sinusitis, treatment lasts 5 days. For pneumonia, treatment lasts 7 to 10 days.

Safety and effectiveness in children have not been studied.


Although no specific information on Ketek overdose is available, any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek emergency treatment immediately.

  • Ketek Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Ketek Consumer Overview
  • Ketek Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
  • Ketek MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Telithromycin Professional Patient Advice (Wolters Kluwer)

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