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Why is this medication prescribed?

Certain bacterial infections, including bronchitis, pneumonia, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), infections of the ears, lungs, sinuses, skin, throat, and reproductive organs are treated with azithromycin. Disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection, a form of lung infection that frequently affects patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is another condition that azithromycin is used to treat or prevent. The drug azithromycin belongs to the group of drugs known as macrolide antibiotics. It works by preventing bacterial growth.

Colds, the flu, or other viral diseases cannot be treated with antibiotics like azithromycin. Antibiotic overuse raises the likelihood that you’ll get an infection later on that is resistant to antibiotic therapy.

How should this medicine be used?

Azithromycin is available as a tablet, an oral suspension (liquid), and an extended-release (long-acting) suspension (liquid). Zithromax tablets and suspension are typically taken once day for 1 to 5 days, with or without food. Tablets of azithromycin are typically given once weekly with or without food when being used to prevent disseminated MAC infection. Zmax, an extended-release solution, is typically taken as a single dose on an empty stomach (at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal). Azithromycin should be taken at roughly the same time each day to help you remember to take it. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. Take azithromycin as prescribed by your doctor. Never take it in larger or less amounts or more frequently than directed by your doctor.

Before each usage, give the beverage a good shake to evenly distribute the medication. To measure the proper dosage of medication, use a measuring cup, oral syringe, or dosing spoon. After ingesting the entire dose of the drug, rinse the measuring equipment with water.

You must combine azithromycin powder for suspension (Zithromax), which comes in single-dose, 1-gram packets, with water before taking it. Mix the 1-gram packet’s contents with 1/4 cup (60 mL) of water in a glass, and then promptly down the entire thing. To make sure you get the full dose, add an additional 1/4 cup (60 mL) of water to the same glass, stir it, and then drink the entire contents.

You must first add water to the bottle of azithromycin extended-release suspension (Zmax) if it is delivered as a dry powder. Twisting the cap will allow you to open the bottle. Fill the bottle with 1/4 cup (60 mL) of water. Shake vigorously to combine after carefully closing the bottle. After mixing the powder with water to create the azithromycin extended-release suspension, use it within 12 hours of getting it from the pharmacy.

Call your doctor straight away if you vomit within an hour of taking azithromycin. If you need to take another dose, your doctor will let you know. If your doctor has not instructed you to take another dose, do not.

The first several days of your azithromycin medication should bring about some improvement in your condition. Call your doctor if your symptoms don’t go away or get worse.

Even if you feel better, keep taking azithromycin until your prescription is finished. Unless you suffer the severe adverse effects listed in the SIDE EFFECTS section, do not discontinue taking azithromycin. Your infection might not be completely treated if you stop taking azithromycin too soon or skip doses, and the bacteria might develop an antibiotic resistance.

For a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient, ask your pharmacist or doctor.

Other uses for this medicine

Additionally, pertussis (whooping cough), Legionnaires’ disease (a form of lung infection), H. pylori infection, travellers’ diarrhoea, and other gastrointestinal infections are occasionally treated with azithromycin. Babesiosis, a deadly infection that can result in excruciating coughing, Lyme disease, which can occur after a tick bite, and (an infectious disease carried by ticks). Additionally, it is utilised to protect against heart infections in patients undergoing dentistry or other treatments and to ward off STDs in assault victims. Discuss the potential dangers of using this medicine for your illness with your doctor.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details if you believe this drug should be used for something else.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking azithromycin,

  • Azithromycin, clarithromycin (Biaxin, in Prevpac), dirithromycin (not available in the U.S.), erythromycin (E.E.S., ERYC, Erythrocin), telithromycin (Ketek; not available in the U.S.), any other medications, or any of the components in azithromycin tablets or suspension should be disclosed to your doctor and pharmacist if you have any of these allergies (liquid). Request a list of the components from your pharmacist.
  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist about any additional prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products you are now taking or intend to use. Incorporate any of the following: Anticoagulants (also known as “blood thinners”) like warfarin (Jantoven), colchicine (Colcrys, Gloperba, Mitigare), cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune), digoxin (Lanoxin), dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal, Trudhesa), and ergotamine (Ergomar, in Migergot); drugs for irregular heartbeat like ami (Dilantin, Phenytek). Your physician might need to adjust the dosage of your drugs or keep a close eye on you for side effects.
  • You will need to wait a while before taking a dose of azithromycin tablets or liquid if you are taking antacids that contain aluminium hydroxide or magnesium hydroxide (Maalox, Mylanta, Tums, etc.). How many hours before or after taking azithromycin, find out from your doctor or pharmacist. With antacids, the extended-release suspension can be taken whenever.
  • If you have ever experienced jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes) or any other liver issues while taking azithromycin, let your doctor know. Most likely, your doctor will advise against taking azithromycin.
  • Tell your doctor if you have a fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat, a prolonged QT interval (a rare heart condition that can result in irregular heartbeat, fainting, or sudden death), low levels of magnesium or potassium in your blood, a blood infection, heart failure or other heart issues, cystic fibrosis, myasthenia gravis (a condition of the muscles and the nerves that control them), kidney or liver disease, or if you have any of these conditions.
  • If you are breastfeeding a child or intend to become pregnant, let your doctor know. Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking azithromycin.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Keep eating normally unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss a dosage, take it as soon as you recall. If the next dose is soon due, skip the missed one and carry on with your regular dosing plan. To make up for a missing dose, do not take a second one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Side effects from azithromycin are possible. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache

Some adverse effects can be very harmful. Stop using azithromycin and contact your doctor right away if you develop any of these symptoms, or seek emergency medical attention:

  • A hammering, rapid, or erratic heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Rash if it has a fever or not
  • Peeling or blistering
  • Fever, skin swelling, redness, and pus-filled blister-like
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Difficulties breathing, swallowing, or wheezing
  • Swelling of the lower legs, hands, feet, ankles, or face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, or mouth
  • Hoarseness
  • Being irritable or throwing up while eating (in infants less than 6 weeks old)
  • Severe diarrhoea (watery or bloody stools), which may or may not be accompanied by fever and cramps in the stomach
  • The skin or eyes turning yellow
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Uncommon bruising or bleeding
  • Not enough energy
  • Reduced appetite
  • Upper right stomach region discomfort
  • Flu-like signs
  • Urine with a deep colour
  • Unusual muscle deterioration or control issues
  • Eyes with pink and swelling

Other negative effects of azithromycin are possible. If you experience any strange issues while taking this medicine, contact your doctor right away.

You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online or by phone if you have a serious side event (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Azithromycin suspension, pills, and extended-release suspension should all be kept at room temperature and away from sources of extreme heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). The extended-release suspension should not be frozen or chilled. Any azithromycin suspension that is leftover after 10 days or is no longer required should be thrown away. After the recommended dose has been reached or 12 hours after preparation, dispose of any unused extended-release azithromycin suspension.

Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilising a medicine take-back programme is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programmes in your area, speak with your pharmacist or the garbage/recycling department in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back programme, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website at for additional information.

As many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning.

In case of emergency/overdose

Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Additionally, information can be found online at Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.

What other information should I know?

Keep all of your appointments with the lab and your doctor. Your doctor might want you to undergo particular blood tests to find out how well your body is responding to azithromycin.

No one else should take your medication. It’s likely that your prescription cannot be renewed. After finishing the azithromycin, call your doctor if you continue to experience symptoms of infection.

You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

  • Zithromax®
  • Zithromax® Single Dose Packets
  • Zithromax® Tri-Paks®
  • Zithromax® Z-Paks®
  • Zmax®
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