Compare nitrofurantoin vs. Elmiron

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.


Macrobid (nitrofurantoin)

Prescription only

Elmiron (pentosan)

Prescription only
Treats and prevents urinary tract infections.

Macrobid (nitrofurantoin) treats uncomplicated urinary tract infections, but does not work well for older people or those with kidney problems.

Treats pain, swelling, and irritation of the bladder.

Elmiron (pentosan) is a good option for managing pain, swelling, and irritation of the bladder associated with interstitial cystitis, but, it's expensive

  • Macrobid (nitrofurantoin) works well to treat most urinary tract infections.
  • Young and otherwise healthy females have the best results when taking Macrobid (nitrofurantoin).
  • It can be used in pregnant women if approved by the doctor.
  • Comes in a liquid form that can be used by children.
  • Elmiron (pentosan) is effective at medically managing interstitial cystitis.
  • There are no dosage adjustments required if you have kidney or liver problems.
  • Does not work well for complicated urinary tract infections, older people, or those with kidney problems.
  • Can damage your lungs, liver, kidneys, and nerves if taken for a long period of time.
  • Elmiron (pentosan) is not available as a cheaper generic form.
  • Elmiron (pentosan) has to be taken three times a day.
  • It has to be taken on a empty stomach.
  • It can take up to 6 months to experience symptom relief.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
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Side effects
The Macrobid (nitrofurantoin) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
7possible side effects
  • Hair loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Indigestion
  • Stomach pain
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Lung damage
    • Using Macrobid (nitrofurantoin) for 6 months or longer
    • Age 65 or older
  • Liver damage
    • History of liver disease
    • Age 65 or older
  • Nerve damage
    • Lower kidney function
    • Low red blood cell count
    • Low vitamin B levels
    • People with diabetes
  • Breakdown of red blood cells
    • People with G6PD deficiency
  • Diarrhea
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Increased bleeding risk
    • Taking Elmiron (pentosan) with other blood thinners or NSAIDs
  • Hair loss
  • Liver problems
    • History of liver problems
See more detailed risks and warnings