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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
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Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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I have been on an antibiotic for a week for an infection in

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I have been on an antibiotic for a week for an infection in my leg. Last night about 8:30 pm I started throwing up and had diarrhea. I had only eaten two ears of corn and had a bowl of cereal for supper. I did have somewhat of a backache yesterday. I just went into the bathroom again and had some dry heaves. I take some medicine at night and did something really stupid. I took my Exforge pill on an empty stomach. Could this have caused me to get so sick. I'm 77 years old so I don't know if I should go to the emergency room or wait until I can get in touch with my doctor. I threw up at 2:48, 3:00, 4:45 and 5:15 AM and it has been a light brown mucous looking substance. I had the dry heaves about 5:39. Before I throw up, I get really nauseated and have a pain below my breasts and above my belly button.
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There are a couple of issues to consider in this situation.

First, yes, it is possible that taking the symptoms could be due to the Exforge, although the Exforge can generally be taken on an empty stomach.

It is more likely, though, that the symptoms are either related to the antibiotic or to an infection. Any antibiotic can not only kill the good germs at the site of an infection, but can also kill the good germs in the gut. Side effects involving the gut (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or pain) are common with antibiotics, both as a direct side effect of the antibiotic or because of altered good germs in the but that allows for the growth of bad germs in the gut. There is one particular form of this that is potentially serious, in which the infection of the gut is cause by C. diff (short for Clostridium difficile). These are more of a concern than whether the Exforge could have caused the symptoms.

Whether you need to be seen emergently would depend upon the severity of symptoms. From your description of the symptoms, it does not sound like it needs an emergent evaluation, but if the vomiting gets more protracted and occurs more often, then it would be appropriate to be seen. Otherwise, it would be OK to wait the few hours until your doctor is in the office. It is important that you be seen today, though, so if the office is booked and you cannot get in, then you should be seen elsewhere, either in the ER or an Urgent Care Center.

If you have any further questions, please let me know.

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