Azithromycin

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Generic Name: Azithromycin Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Uses

What is azithromycin used for?

Azithromycin is used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections. It is a macrolide-type antibiotic. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria.

This medication will not work for viral infections (such as common cold, flu). Unnecessary use or misuse of any antibiotic can lead to its decreased effectiveness.                          

How should I take azithromycin?

Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily with or without food. You may take this medication with food if stomach upset occurs. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.

Antibiotics work best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, take this drug at the same time each day.

Continue to take this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished, even if symptoms disappear after a few days. Stopping the medication too early may allow bacteria to continue to grow, which may result in a return of the infection.

Antacids containing aluminum or magnesium may decrease the absorption of azithromycin if taken at the same time. If you take an antacid that contains aluminum or magnesium, wait at least 2 hours before or after taking azithromycin.

Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.

How do I store azithromycin?

Azithromycin is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store azithromycin in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of azithromycin that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush azithromycin down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using azithromycin?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of azithromycin or other medications.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes) or other liver problems while taking azithromycin. Your doctor will probably tell you not to take azithromycin.

Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had a prolonged QT interval (a rare heart problem that may cause irregular heartbeat, fainting, or sudden death) or a fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat, and if you have low levels of magnesium or potassium in your blood; if you have a blood infection; heart failure; cystic fibrosis; AIDS or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection; myasthenia gravis (a condition of muscles and the nerves that control them); or if you have kidney or liver disease.

If you are taking antacids containing aluminum hydroxide or magnesium hydroxide (Maalox, Mylanta, Tums, others), you will need to allow some time to pass between when you take a dose of these antacids and when you take a dose of azithromycin tablets or liquid. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how many hours before or after you take azithromycin you may take these medications. The extended-release suspension may be taken at any time with antacids.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using azithromycin during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking azithromycin. Azithromycin is pregnancy risk category B, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from azithromycin?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using azithromycin and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • Diarrhea that is watery or bloody
  • Headache with chest pain and severe dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeats
  • Nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Severe skin reaction — fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling

Less serious side effects may include:

  • Mild diarrhea, vomiting, constipation
  • Stomach pain or upset
  • Dizziness, tired feeling, mild headache
  • Nervous feeling, sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Vaginal itching or discharge
  • Mild rash or itching
  • Ringing in your ears, problems with hearing
  • Decreased sense of taste or smell

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with azithromycin?

Azithromycin may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Products that may interact with this drug are:

  • Droperidol
  • Methadone
  • Nelfinavir
  • Another antibiotic–clarithromycin, erythromycin, moxifloxacin, pentamidine
  • A blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin)
  • Cancer medicine–arsenic trioxide, vandetanib
  • An antidepressant–citalopram, escitalopram
  • Anti-malaria medication–chloroquine, halofantrine
  • Heart rhythm medicine–amiodarone, disopyramide, dofetilide, flecainide, ibutilide, procainamide, quinidine, sotalol
  • Medicine to treat a psychiatric disorder–chlorpromazine, haloperidol, mesoridazine, pimozide, thioridazine

Does food or alcohol interact with azithromycin?

Azithromycin may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with azithromycin?

Azithromycin may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Health conditions that may interact with this drug are:

  • Allergy to any macrolide and ketolide antibiotic (e.g., clarithromycin, erythromycin, telithromycin, Biaxin®, Ery-tab®, or Ketek®)
  • Liver disease with prior azithromycin use
  • Bacteremia (blood infection)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Infections, nosocomial or hospital
  • Weak immune system
  • Weakened physical condition
  • Bradycardia (slow heartbeat)
  • Hypokalemia (low potassium in the blood)
  • Hypomagnesemia (low magnesium in the blood)
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Diarrhea
  • Heart disease
  • Heart rhythm problems (e.g., prolonged QT interval)
  • Myasthenia gravis (severe muscle weakness)
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using azithromycin.

What is the dose of azithromycin for an adult?

Skin and soft tissue infections – Oral

Adult: 500 mg once daily for 3 days. Alternatively, 500 mg as a single dose on the 1st day followed by 250 mg once daily for 4 days.

Respiratory tract infections- Oral

Adult: 500 mg once daily for 3 days. Alternatively, 500 mg as a single dose on the 1st day followed by 250 mg once daily for 4 days.

Uncomplicated genital infections due to Chlamydia trachomatis- Oral

Adult: 1 g as a single dose.

Uncomplicated gonorrhoea- Oral

Adult: 2 g as a single dose.

Prophylaxisof disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infections- Oral

Adult: 1.2 g once every wk. For treatment or secondary prophylaxis: 500 mg once daily with other antimycobacterials.

Child: >6 mth: 10 mg/kg once daily for 3 days.

Granuloma inguinale – Oral

Adult: Initially, 1 g followed by 500 mg daily. Alternatively, 1 g once a wk for at least 3 wk, until all lesions have completely healed.

Intravenous – Active immunisation against typhoid fever caused by Salmonella typhi

Adult: 500 mg once daily for 7 days.

What is the dose of azithromycin for a child?

Skin and soft tissue infections – Oral

Child: >6 mth: 10 mg/kg; 15-25 kg: 200 mg; 26-35 kg: 300 mg; 36-45 kg: 400 mg.

Doses to be taken once daily for 3 days.

Respiratory tract infections – Oral

Child: >6 mth: 10 mg/kg; 15-25 kg: 200 mg; 26-35 kg: 300 mg; 36-45 kg: 400 mg.

Doses to be taken once daily for 3 days.

Prophylaxisof disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infections – Oral

Child: >6 mth: 10 mg/kg once daily for 3 days.

How is azithromycin available?

Azithromycin is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Tablet, Oral: 250 mg, 500 mg, 600 mg.
  • Suspension, Oral: 1g.
  • Suspension, Oral: 1g/5 mL.

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of azithromycin, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

msBahasa Malaysia

Review Date: July 18, 2017 | Last Modified: July 26, 2017

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