Azithromycin

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Azithromycin

Azithromycin drug image

Brand Zithromax

     Form Oral Tablet

     Drug Type Macrolide Antibiotics

 

Azithromycin prevents and treats a very serious type of infection (mycobacteria or MAC). It is a macrolide-type antibiotic. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria.

 

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Drug Information

Azithromycin is used to prevent and treat a very serious type of infection (mycobacteria or MAC). It is a macrolide-type antibiotic. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria. This medication will not work for viral infections (common cold or flu). Unnecessary use or misuse of any antibiotic can lead to its decreased effectiveness.

Take this medication by mouth, with or without food. You may take this medication with food if stomach upset occurs. To prevent infection, take this drug as directed by your doctor, usually once a week on the same day each week. 

To treat infection, take this drug as directed by your doctor, usually once daily at the same time each day. Continue to take this medication until your doctor tells you to stop. Stopping the medication too early on your own may allow bacteria to continue to grow, which may result in a return of the infection. Tell your doctor if your condition lasts or gets worse.

For the best effect, take this antibiotic at evenly spaced times. To help you remember, take this medication at the same time(s) every day. Antacids containing aluminum or magnesium may decrease the absorption of azithromycin if taken at the same time. If you take an antacid with aluminum or magnesium, wait at least 2 hours before or after taking azithromycin.

Stomach upset, diarrhea/loose stools, nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain may occur. Tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly if any of these effects last or get worse.

Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including hearing changes (such as decreased hearing, deafness), eye problems (such as drooping eyelids, blurred vision), difficulty speaking/swallowing, muscle weakness, signs of liver problems (such as nausea/vomiting that doesn't stop, unusual tiredness, severe stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine).

Get medical help immediately if you have any serious side effects, including fast/irregular heartbeat, severe dizziness, or fainting. This medication may rarely cause a severe intestinal condition due to a bacteria called C. difficile. This condition may occur during treatment or weeks to months after treatment has stopped. Tell your doctor right away if you develop: diarrhea that doesn't stop, abdominal or stomach pain/cramping, or blood/mucus in your stool. If you have these symptoms, do not use anti-diarrhea or opioid products because they may worsen symptoms. Use of this medication for prolonged or repeated periods may result in oral thrush or a new yeast infection. Contact your doctor if you notice white patches in your mouth, a change in vaginal discharge, or other new symptoms.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including fever that doesn't go away, new or worsening lymph node swelling, rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. An allergic reaction to this medication may return even if you stop the drug. If you have an allergic reaction, continue to watch for any of the above symptoms for several days after your last dose. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, call your doctor before using anti-diarrhea medicine.

Azithromycin could make you sunburn more easily. Avoid sunlight or tanning beds. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.

Before taking azithromycin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it or other antibiotics (such as erythromycin, clarithromycin, telithromycin) or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver disease, kidney disease, or certain muscle diseases (myasthenia gravis). Azithromycin may cause a condition affecting heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness and fainting) that need immediate medical attention. The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other drugs that may cause QT prolongation. Before using azithromycin, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take and if you have any of the following conditions: certain heart problems (heart failure, slow heartbeat, QT prolongation in the EKG), family history of certain heart problems (QT prolongation in the EKG, sudden cardiac death). Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood may also increase your risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if you use certain drugs (such as diuretics/"water pills") or have conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting.

Talk to your doctor about using azithromycin safely. Azithromycin may cause live bacterial vaccines (such as typhoid vaccine) not to work well. Tell your health care professional that you are using azithromycin before having any immunizations/vaccinations. Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially QT prolongation (see above). During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. This drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

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The information provided on this page is updated periodically. Please use our Drug Search Tool for the latest information and updates about this drug. The information on this site is not intended to take the place of your doctor or other healthcare professionals. It is a resource to help you make the best decisions and get the most from the medical services available to you. A licensed physician should be consulted to diagnose and treat all medical conditions.