Azithromycin - Zithromax
GENERIC NAME: azithromycin
BRAND NAME: Zithromax
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Azithromycin is a semi-synthetic macrolide antibiotic chemically related to erythromycin and clarithromycin (Biaxin). It is effective against a wide variety of bacteria organisms, such as Hemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, and mycobacterium avium, and many others. It is unusual in that it stays in the body for quite a while, allowing for once a day dosing and for shorter treatment courses for most infections.
Azithromycin, like all macrolide antibiotics, prevents bacteria from growing by interfering with their ability to make proteins. Due to the differences in the way proteins are made in bacteria and humans, the macrolide antibiotics do not interfere with humans' ability to make proteins.
GENERIC AVAILABLE: no
PREPARATIONS: Capsules (red): 250mg; Suspension: 100 mg/teaspoon; 200 mg/teaspoon.
STORAGE: Capsules should be kept below 30°C (86°F). Suspension should be kept between 5° and 30°C (41° and 86°F).
PRESCRIBED FOR: Azithromycin is effective against susceptible bacteria causing infections of the middle ear, tonsillitis, throat infections, laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, sinuses and. It is also effective against certain sexually transmitted infectious diseases, such as nongonococcal urethritis and cervicitis.
DOSING: Azithromycin should be taken at least one hour before or two hours after meals since it may bind to food and not be absorbed from the intestine. For most infections, azithromycin is taken once daily for a relatively short course of treatment (usually five days). The first dose is often a "double dose," twice as much as the remainder of the doses given. For acute bacterial sinusitis, azithromycin way be taken once daily for three days.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Unlike erythromycin and clarithromycin, azithromycin is generally considered free of interactions with most other medicines. It is recommended that azithromycin not be taken at the same time as aluminum- or magnesium- based antacids, such as Mylanta or Maalox because antacids will bind the azithromycin and prevent it from being absorbed from the intestine.
PREGNANCY: There are no adequate studies of azithromycin in pregnant women. However, studies in animals suggest no important effects on the fetus. Azithromycin therefore can be used in pregnancy if the physician feels that it is clearly necessary.
NURSING MOTHERS: It is not known if azithromycin is secreted in breast milk.
SIDE EFFECTS: Azithromycin is generally well tolerated. The most common side effects are diarrhea or loose stools, nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting, each of which may occur in fewer than one in twenty persons who receive azithromycin. Rarer side effects include abnormal liver tests, allergic reactions, and nervousness.
8 additional azithromycin related articles -- click here
Why is this medication prescribed? Return to top
Azithromycin is used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, such as bronchitis; pneumonia; sexually transmitted diseases (STD); and infections of the ears, lungs, skin, and throat. Azithromycin is in a class of medications called macrolide antibiotics. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria. Antibiotics will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.
How should this medicine be used? Return to top
Azithromycin comes as a tablet and oral suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken with or without food once a day for 1-5 days. To help you remember to take azithromycin, take it around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take azithromycin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Shake the liquid well before each use to mix the medication evenly. Use only the syringe provided to measure the correct amount of medication. Rinse the syringe with water after taking the full dose of medication.
The tablets should be taken with a full glass of water.
Take azithromycin until you finish the prescription, even if you feel better. Stopping azithromycin too soon may cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics.
Other uses for this medicine Return to top
Azithromycin is also used sometimes to treat H. pylori
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow? Return to top
Before taking azithromycin,
tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to azithromycin, clarithromycin (Biaxin), dirithromycin (Dynabac), erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin), or any other medications.
tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin); cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune); digoxin (Lanoxin); dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal); ergotamine (Ergomar); medications that suppress the immune system; nelfinavir (Viracept); phenytoin (Dilantin); and terfenadine (Seldane). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
if you take antacids (Mylanta, Maalox), take them 2 hours before or 4 hours after azithromycin.
tell your doctor if you have or have ever had cystic fibrosis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), irregular heartbeat, or kidney or liver disease.
tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking azithromycin, call your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow? Return to top
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose? Return to top
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause? Return to top
Azithromycin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
mild skin rash
Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately:
severe skin rash
difficulty breathing or swallowing
swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
yellowing of the skin or eyes
rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
Azithromycin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine? Return to top
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store the tablets at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Keep liquid medicine tightly closed at room temperature or in the refrigerator, and throw away any unused medication after 10 days. Do not freeze. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose Return to top
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know? Return to top
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body's response to azithromycin.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish the azithromycin, call your doctor.
Brand names Return to top