An Overview of the Antibiotic Azithromycin

Azithromycin is an antibiotic used to treat a variety of bacterial infections. This article will provide an overview of this common antibiotic, including its uses, dosing, side effects, and other key information.

Uses of Azithromycin

Azithromycin is used to treat infections caused by susceptible bacteria, including:

  • Chest infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Sinus infections
  • Tonsillitis and pharyngitis
  • Ear infections
  • Mild to moderate skin infections
  • Sexually transmitted diseases caused by Chlamydia trachomatis

It works by stopping the growth of bacteria. This antibiotic belongs to the macrolides class.

Before Taking Azithromycin

  • Inform your doctor if you have severe kidney problems, liver issues, myasthenia gravis, or heart rhythm abnormalities. Your doctor may adjust the dose or monitor you more closely.
  • Tell your doctor if you take blood thinners, ergotamine, cyclosporine, digoxin, or other interacting drugs. Dosage adjustments may be required.
  • Azithromycin has not been shown to be safe during pregnancy. Discuss with your doctor if pregnant or planning pregnancy.
  • This drug passes into breast milk and may cause side effects in a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

How to Take Azithromycin

Azithromycin tablets are taken orally as a single daily dose. Some key dosing guidelines:

  • Adults and children over 45 kg typically take 500 mg on day 1 followed by 250 mg once daily for days 2-5 to complete a 5 day course.
  • Alternatively, 1500 mg may be taken over 3 days instead of 5 days.
  • For sexually transmitted infections, a one time dose of 1 gm (1000 mg) is given.
  • Take the dose at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after antacids. Take doses with or without food.
  • Complete the full course as prescribed even if feeling better. This prevents antibiotic resistance and recurrences.

What are the Side Effects

  • Most common transient side effects involve the digestive system, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort.
  • Headache, dizziness, rashes may also occur. More severe allergic reactions are possible.
  • Prolonged QT interval heart rhythm changes and liver toxicity are rare risks requiring prompt medical care.
  • Yeast infections may emerge following disruption of normal bacterial flora.
  • Seek prompt medical help if severe diarrhea with bleeding develops.

Important Administration and Safety Information

  • Store tablets below 30°C away from excess heat and moisture.
  • Keep this and all medicine out of reach of children.
  • Only take as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not share with others.
  • Shake tablets that can be divided before splitting doses to distribute granules evenly.

In summary Azithromycin is commonly used to treat bacterial infections but has some potential side effects and interactions that should be monitored. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you have any concerns.