Azithromycin is a versatile antibiotic used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections, including those that affect the lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal tract, as well as various sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It belongs to a class of drugs called macrolide antibiotics and is derived from an antibiotic of the same name, erythromycin. It works by interfering with the ability of bacteria to produce proteins, thus inhibiting their growth. Azithromycin is available as an oral liquid or tablet, injectable solution, and eye drops.
Trademarks of Azithromycin
- Zithromax Single Dose Packs
- Zitromax Tri-Pax
- Z-Paks by Zithromax
- Zmax (extended release formulation )
Azithromycin is used to treat and prevent many different types of infections. They include:
Azithromycin is also used prophylactically to prevent heart infections in people undergoing dental or other procedures and to prevent STIs in victims of sexual assault.
Azithromycin is often prescribed as an alternative to penicillin for people allergic to it.
Use not indicated on the label
Azithromycin is sometimes prescribed to treat moderate to severe acne. It can also be given to children in intensive care units.Azithromycin has also been investigated in combination with hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 .
Your doctor may prescribe azithromycin if you show signs of infection, such as fever, chills, fatigue, or pain at the site of infection. They can also wait until you are tested and diagnosed with a specific infection. In most cases, azithromycin will be the first antibiotic prescribed for an infection.
Before taking azithromycin, be aware that this is a generic name for the drug, so a brand-name version of this drug may be prescribed based on your doctor's preference and your specific infection.
It is also important that your doctor knows some details of your medical history that may affect whether azithromycin is the best antibiotic for you. Let them know if you have ever had an allergic reaction to azithromycin. Also include the names of all medications, vitamins, and supplements you are currently taking, if applicable. While some drugs have a lower risk of interaction, the use of others may be a contraindication.
Precautions and contraindications.
Azithromycin is categorically contraindicated in certain circumstances. If any of them come to you and a healthcare provider who is unfamiliar with your medical history wants to prescribe azithromycin, please let them know so they can offer you a safer alternative. Contraindications to the use of azithromycin are:
Because azithromycin is used so widely, it is one of the many antibiotics for which antibiotic resistance can be a problem, meaning that it may not be fully effective against certain infections, such as community-acquired pneumonia, infections ear, acute sinusitis and methicillin . Resistant Staphylococcus aureus … aureus (MRSA), a superbug with broad antibacterial resistance.
Names of other classes of drugs
Azithromycin is classified as an antibiotic from the group of macrolides. Other drugs in this class include:
- Biaxin (clarithromycin)
- Dificid (fidaxomicin)
- Ketek (telithromycin)
A typical cycle of azithromycin lasts three to 10 days, depending on the type of infection being treated. The most common dose on the first day is 500 milligrams (mg) in a single dose, which can be a tablet, liquid, or dry powder to which water must be added, followed by 250 mg orally once daily on the second day . up to 5.
Zmax, extended-release suspension, is taken once within 12 hours of receiving the prescription.
All indicated doses are indicated by the manufacturer of the drug. Check your prescription and talk to your doctor to make sure you are taking the correct dose.
How to take and store
With the exception of Zmax, which is best taken on an empty stomach (at least an hour before or several hours after a meal), azithromycin can be taken with or without food. Follow your doctor's instructions as well as the directions on the label. Do not take more or less than prescribed.
Take azithromycin until you finish taking it, even if you feel better. If you stop taking azithromycin too soon or miss doses, your infection may return, allowing the bacteria to become resistant to the antibiotics.
As with all medicines, store them in a cool, dry place, out of the sight and reach of children.
Like all medicines, azithromycin can cause side effects.
Many common side effects are related to the digestive system, but most are mild and should go away after treatment is complete.
- Threw up
- Abdominal pain
Stop taking azithromycin immediately and seek medical help if you experience any of the following:
- Fast, rapid, or irregular heartbeat.
- Weakness or dizziness
- Itching, hives, rash, or peeling
- Pus-filled ulcers
- Yellow eyes or pink, puffy eyes
- Wheezing or trouble breathing or swallowing
- Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, legs, or skin.
- Severe diarrhea (watery or bloody stools) and stomach cramps that occur for two or more months after treatment.
- Extreme tiredness or lack of energy
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in the upper right part of the abdomen.
- Flu-like symptoms
- Dark urine
- Unusual muscle weakness or difficulty with muscle control.
Warnings and interactions
Azithromycin is widely used and is a common substitute for people allergic to other antibiotics. This is considered largely safe, but some of them can interact with certain medications and other substances.
- Antacids: Do not take azithromycin at the same time as medicines that contain aluminum hydroxide or magnesium hydroxide, such as maalox, milanta, or tams. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how many hours before or after taking azithromycin you can take these medications. The extended-release suspension can be taken at any time with antacids.
- Certain blood-thinning medications and medications that are taken when the heartbeat is irregular . Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or watch out for side effects if you are taking: Coumadin, Yantoven (warfarin); Colcrys, Gloperba (colchicine); Neoral, Sandimmun (cyclosporine); Lanoxin (digoxin); DHE 45, migranal (dihydroergotamine); Ergomar (ergotamine); Cordaron, Patseron (amiodarone); Ticosine (dofetilide): procanbide (procainamide); Betapas, Sorin (quinidine and sotalol); Viracept (nelfinavir); Dilantin (phenytoin); or terfenadine (not available in the US).
- Alcohol: Taking azithromycin can increase side effects.