Phone

Drugs

Side Effects
Serious

Breathing difficulty, fever, hives, itching, skin rash, swelling of face, mouth, lips, throat, or tongue, sweating, yellowish discoloration of the eyes or skin. These may be signs of a rare but potentially serious allergic reaction. Seek medical assistance immediately.
Common

No common side effects are associated with the use of azithromycin.
Less Common

Nausea and vomiting, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea (generally mild), headache, dizziness.
Azithromycin


Drug Class:
Azalide antibiotic

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: No

Zithromax 600 mg
(Pfizer)
Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Special Concerns
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions


Available In
Capsules, tablets, powder, injection

Why Prescribed
To treat various bacterial infections, particularly of the sinuses, throat, and respiratory tract (such as bronchitis and pneumonia); infections of the ear; venereal disease due to chlamydial and chancroid infection; skin infections; and diarrhea associated with campylobacter and other bacteria that cause food poisoning. Also used to prevent and treat a tuberculosis-like disease known as Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), which is common in people with advanced AIDS.

How It Works
Azithromycin prevents bacterial cells from manufacturing specific proteins necessary for their survival.

Range and Frequency
For bronchitis, strep throat, pneumonia, and skin infections: 500 mg (2 pills) taken in a single dose on the first day of treatment; then, 250 mg (1 pill) per day on days 2 through 5. For chlamydia and chancroid: 1,000 mg (4 pills) taken in a single one-time dose. To prevent MAC: 1,200 mg weekly. To treat MAC: 500 mg, twice a day.

Onset of Effect
Unknown.

Duration of Action
Unknown.

Dietary Advice
Take capsules on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating. Tablets may be taken with or without food. Drink plenty of fluids (at least 2 to 3 quarts of water per day).

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat and direct light.

Missed Dose
Take it as soon as you remember. If you miss a day entirely, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosage schedule the next day. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug
It is very important to take this drug as prescribed for the full treatment period, even if you begin to feel better before the scheduled end of therapy.

Prolonged Use
For acute infections, treatment is usually complete after 5 days with capsules, and 1 day with the powdered form. For MAC prevention and treatment, therapy may be lifelong. Prolonged use may be associated with an increased risk of side effects.

Over 60
Adverse reactions may be more likely and more severe.

Driving and Hazardous Work
The use of azithromycin should not impair your ability to perform such tasks safely.

Alcohol
Avoid alcohol while taking this drug.

Pregnancy
Adequate studies of the use of azithromycin during pregnancy have not been done; consult your doctor for advice.

Breast Feeding
It is not known if azithromycin passes into breast milk; consult your doctor for advice.

Infants and Children
The safety and effectiveness of azithromycin use in patients under 16 years of age have not been established, although no special problems are expected.

Special Concerns
Before taking any antibiotic, make sure you tell your doctor about allergies that you might have. If you are allergic to erythromycin, you are likely to be allergic to azithromycin. Azithromycin is useful only against bacteria that are susceptible to its effects. Therefore, it is important to tell your doctor if your condition has not improved, or instead has worsened, within a few days of starting the drug. The particular bacteria causing your illness may be resistant to azithromycin.

Overdose Symptoms
No cases of overdose have been reported.

What to Do
Emergency instructions not applicable.

Drug Interactions
Other drugs may interact with azithromycin. Consult your doctor for specific advice if you are taking anticoagulants (such as warfarin), anticonvulsants (such as phenytoin and carbamazepine), antihistamines (especially terfenadine), and theophylline. Antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium can interfere with the absorption of azithromycin; separate the use of azithromycin and an antacid by at least 2 hours.

Food Interactions
Azithromycin capsules should be taken on an empty stomach.

Disease Interactions
Consult your doctor if you have a medical history that includes liver disease.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
Previous  |  Next
> Printer-friendly Version