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Nalidixic Acid



Nalidixic acid is used to treat urinary tract infections caused by certain bacteria.

How it works

Nalidixic acid belongs to a class of drugs called quinolone antibiotics. It works by killing the infection causing bacteria in urinary tract.

Common side effects

Nausea, Pain, Rash, Changes in color vision, Convulsion, Decreased pain sensitivity, Diarrhoea, Dizziness, Drowsiness, Headache, Increased body temperature, Skin redness, Stomach discomfort, Stomach pain, Inflammation of tendons, Vertigo, Vomiting, Weakness


Expert advice

  • Do not take medicines that contain magnesium, aluminium, calcium, sucralfate, iron, or zinc preparations within 2 to 3 hours of taking nalidixic acid.
  • Do not drink products that contain caffeine while taking nalidixic acid.
  • Continue taking nalidixic acid even if you feel better. Do not stop taking this medication as it may result in relapse of the infection. 
  • Do not drive or operate machinery as nalidixic acid can cause drowsiness, dizziness, or blurred vision. 
  • Do not consume alcohol as nalidixic acid as it may worsen the side effects.
  • Avoid exposure to sun while taking nalidixic acid. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you develop stomach pain or cramps, severe diarrhea, or bloody stools.
  • Consult your doctor if you develop signs of infections as long-term or repeated use of nalidixic acid may cause secondary infections. 
  • Inform your doctor if you are on nalidixic acid treatment as it may affect some tests for urine glucose in patients with diabetes.
  • Use of nalidixic acid is not recommended in children younger than 3 months old or younger than 9 years old with diarrhea or a gastrointestinal infection.
  • You may be monitored with blood tests, kidney and liver function test, if you are on long-term treatment with nalidixic acid.

Frequently asked questions

Nalidixic Acid

Q. Is nalidixic acid an antibiotic / quinolone / broad spectrum / fluoroquinolone?
Yes, Nalidixic acid is a broad spectrum quinolone antibiotic.
Q. How does nalidixic acid work/ inhibit bacterial growth /inhibit DNA synthesis?
It works by killing the bacteria that are causing an infection. It does this by entering the bacterial cells and inhibiting a bacterial enzyme called DNA-gyrase. 
Q. What does nalidixic acid target?
It stops the production of essential proteins needed by bacteria.
Q. How does nalidixic acid inhibit DNA synthesis?
Nalidixic acid acts by inhibiting DNA synthesis, probably by interfering with DNA polymerisation.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)