Alinia (Nitazoxanide) - Oral

What Is Alinia?

Alinia (nitazoxanide) is a prescription drug used to treat diarrhea caused by certain parasite infections in people 1 year and older. It is an antiprotozoal drug.

Alinia is available as an oral tablet and reconstituted suspension. The suspension is strawberry flavored, containing a red dye. On the other hand, the pill contains corn starch, blue dye, and yellow dye.

Nitazoxanide works by preventing the growth of Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium parvum, two protozoans that cause diarrhea. It also blocks a specific enzyme from converting chemicals to energy in the protozoal cells, leading to death.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Nitazoxanide

Brand Name(s): Alinia

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: Antiprotozoal drug

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: N/A

Administration Route: Oral

Active Ingredient: Nitazoxanide

Dosage Form(s): Liquid suspension, Tablet

What Is Alinia Used For?

Alinia (nitazoxanide) is a prescription drug that treats diarrhea caused by certain parasite infections. The diarrhea infections are caused by organisms like Cryptosporidium parvum or Giardia lamblia

Cryptosporidium parvum is primarily common in children who are malnourished. It is the second leading cause of death in children due to diarrheal disease worldwide.

Giardia lamblia is the most common intestinal parasite, affecting at least 200 million people annually. Its symptoms include nausea, gas, bloating, and foul-smelling diarrhea.

Alinia prevents the growth of these parasites, resulting in their death.

How to Take Alinia

Tablets

Food increases the level of this drug in your system. Hence, take as directed by your healthcare provider with food. Do not give this medicine to children under 12 years.


Liquid (suspension)

The liquid suspension is mixed by your pharmacist or healthcare provider by adding 48 milliliters (mL) of water to a 60 milliliters (mL) bottle to make 20 milligrams (mg)/milliliters (mL) (100 milligrams per 5 milliliters) before dispensing.

Shake well each time before administration. Use a measuring device to measure the amount of each dose carefully. Ask your pharmacist for one if you do not have a measuring device.

Some formulations may contain sucrose. Use caution if you have certain health conditions that sucrose may affect.

Storage

Store at room temperature (77 degrees Fahrenheit). During trips, you may store between cool and mildly hot temperatures (59 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit). Do not store it in your bathroom.

If taking the liquid (suspension), discard any unused portion after seven days.

Keep your medications out of the reach of children and pets, ideally locked in a cabinet or closet.

If you plan to travel with Alinia, get familiar with your final destination's regulations. In general, be sure to make a copy of your Alinia prescription. If possible, keep your medication in its original container from your pharmacy with your name on the label. If you have any questions about traveling with your medicine, be sure to ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider.

Discard all unused and expired drugs, but do not pour them down the drain or toilet. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider about the best ways to dispose of this medicine. And look out for drug take-back programs in your area.

How Long Does Alinia Take to Work?

Alinia takes between one to five hours to peak in your system. However, this time varies among individuals. If you have any questions about this medication, contact your healthcare provider.

What Are the Side Effects of Alinia?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at fda.gov/medwatch or 800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects of Alinia include but are not limited to:

  • Nausea
  • Urine discoloration
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain

Severe Side Effects

Alinia can cause many side effects. Some may be life-threatening. Call your healthcare provider immediately if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening. Severe side effects include the signs of an allergic reaction like:

  • Wheezing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Tightness in the chest or throat
  • Unusual hoarseness
  • Trouble talking or swallowing
  • Swelling of the mouth, throat, face, or tongue
  • Red or peeling skin

Report Side Effects

Alinia may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Alinia Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For treatment of diarrhea caused by protozoal infections:
    • For oral dosage form (oral suspension):
      • Adults and children 12 years or older—25 milliliters (mL) every 12 hours, taken with food, for 3 days.
      • Children 4 to 11 years of age—10 mL every 12 hours, taken with food, for 3 days.
      • Children 1 to 3 years of age—5 mL every 12 hours, taken with food, for 3 days.
      • Children younger than 1 year of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For oral dosage form (tablets):
      • Adults and children 12 years of age and older—500 milligrams (mg) every 12 hours, taken with food, for 3 days.
      • Children up to 11 years of age—Use of tablet is not recommended in these patients.

Modifications

The following modifications should be kept in mind when using Alinia:

Severe allergic reaction: Do not use if allergic to Alinia or any of its ingredients. Ask your pharmacist for a complete list of ingredients if you're unsure.

Pregnancy: Although there is limited information about the use of nitazoxanide in pregnancy, it may be safe. Alinia may be used in pregnant people with severe cryptosporidiosis after their first trimester. 

Discuss with your healthcare provider if you are or plan to become pregnant, to weigh the benefits and risks of taking Alinia during your pregnancy.

Breastfeeding: The active part of this drug is present in breast milk. Speak with your healthcare provider if you plan to breastfeed to consider the benefits and risks of taking Alinia while nursing and the different ways to feed your baby.

Adults over 65 years: Nitazoxanide is safe to use in this population. No modification is required.

Children: Alinia tablet is safe for children 12 years and over. Do not give it to your child if they are under 12. If your child cannot swallow pills, Alinia suspension may be prescribed. The liquid formulation is safe for children 1 year and over.

Missed Dose

If you mistakenly forget to take your medicine, take the missed dose immediately after you think of it. Skip your missed dose if it is too close to the next dose. Do not take extra doses or two doses at a time.

Try to find ways to help yourself remember to take your medication routinely. If you miss too many doses, Alinia may become less effective in treating your infection.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Alinia?

There is limited information available about Alinia overdose. If you think you're experiencing an overdose or life-threatening symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

What Happens If I Overdose on Alinia?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Alinia, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Alinia, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits and to check for unwanted effects.

If your symptoms do not improve within a few days or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Alinia?

If you're allergic to Alinia or any of its ingredients, avoid using it. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for a full list of the ingredients if you're unsure.

What Other Medications Interact With Alinia?

There are no known significant interactions. However, talk with your pharmacist or healthcare provider for detailed information about medication interactions with Alinia. In addition, speak with your healthcare provider about any other medicines you take or plan to take, including over-the-counter (OTC), nonprescription products, vitamins, herbs, or plant-based medicines.

What Medications Are Similar?

Other drugs similar to Alinia that are antiprotozoans include:

  • Mepron (atovaquone)
  • Vaniqa (eflornithine)
  • Lampit (nifurtimox)
  • Pentam or Nebupent (pentamidine)
  • Flagyl (metronidazole)
  • Solosec (secnidazole)

This list lists medicines also prescribed to treat diarrhea caused by certain parasites. It is NOT a list of drugs suggested to take with Alinia. You should not take these drugs together unless your healthcare provider tells you to. Ask your pharmacist or a healthcare provider if you have questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Alinia used to treat?

    Alinia is used to treat diarrhea caused by certain protozoans.

  • What are the common side effects of Alinia?

    Some common side effects include

    • Nausea
    • Urine discoloration
    • Headache
    • Abdominal pain
  • Where should I store Alinia?

    Store Alinia at room temperature in a dry area, away from children and pets.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Alinia?

    Take the missed dose immediately. However, skip the missed dose if it is too close to the next dose. Then, return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take double the amount or take extra doses.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Alinia?

Diarrhea caused by Cryptosporidium parvum or Giardia lamblia can be self-limiting. Medications like Alinia can help treat the diarrhea symptoms caused by these organisms. Take nitazoxanide precisely as directed by your healthcare provider. Complete the therapy even if you start to feel better.

Learn more about Cryptosporidium parvum or Giardia lamblia to avoid future infections.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Food and Drug Administration. Alinia label

  2. Gibson AR, Striepen B. Cryptosporidium. Current Biology. 2018;28(5):R193-R194.

  3. DailyMed. Repatha - evolocumab injection, solution.

By Queen Buyalos, PharmD
Queen Buyalos is a pharmacist and freelance medical writer. She takes pride in advocating for cancer prevention, overall health, and mental health education. Queen enjoys counseling and educating patients about drug therapy and translating complex ideas into simple language.