Metronidazole interrupts cellular metabolism by preferential reduction, capturing electrons that would be usually transferred to other molecules. This leads to a build up of cytotoxic intermediate metabolic compounds and free radicals, that result in DNA breakage and subsequent cell death.

Property Drug
Class Nitroimidazole
Uses Anaerobes and protozoa
Route of Administration PO/IV
Dosing 500mg BD
Absorption 100% bioavailability
Distribution Crosses BBB
Metabolism Hepatic to active metabolites
Elimination Renal of active metabolites
Metabolic Significant rash, nausea, vomiting, headache, flushing
GIT Nausea, vomiting, metallic taste
Immunological Hypersensitivity reactions
Interactions Disulfiram-like reaction with ETOH


  1. Peck TE, Hill SA. Pharmacology for Anaesthesia and Intensive Care. 4th Ed. Cambridge University Press. 2014.
  2. Lexicomp. Metronidazole (systemic): Drug information. In: UpToDate, Post, TW (Ed), UpToDate, Waltham, MA, 2017.
Last updated 2019-07-18

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