Medically the review by Zara Risoldi Cochrane, Pharm.D., M.S., FASCP — composed by Zawn Villines on July 11, 2019

Azithromycin (Zithromax) is an antibiotic the can aid treat particular bacterial infections. It is normally safe to use while breastfeeding, yet people with existing heart conditions should avoid this drug.

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Azithromycin is an antibiotic in the macrolides class. The Food and Drug management (FDA) very first approved azithromycin in 1991.

Like every antibiotics, azithromycin can only fight details bacteria. For this reason, it is vital to speak to a doctor before taking the drug. It is not effective versus viral infections or together a pain reliever.

This short article provides summary of azithromycin, consisting of its uses, side effects, warnings, and drug interactions.


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Share top top PinterestA doctor may prescribe azithromycin because that a sinus infection, COPD complications, or tonsillitis, because that example.
Azithromycin deserve to fight a wide variety of bacteria, including plenty of in the Streptococcus family. It deserve to stop harmful bacteria indigenous growing.

Healthcare service providers tend to use this drug to act mild-to-moderate epidemic of the lungs, sinuses, skin, and also other human body parts.

A doctor may prescribe azithromycin come treat the complying with bacterial infections:

chronic obstructive pulmonary an illness (COPD) complications regarded M. Catarrhalis or S. Pneumoniaesome skin infections regarded Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, or Streptococcus agalactiaecertain ear epidemic in kids aged 6 months and also over, such as those regarded M. Catarrhalis
How to take it it

Azithromycin is a prescription medication. Therefore, people should not take it without a prescription.

The drug is available in the form of a tablet, an dental suspension solution, an eye drop, and an injection. The best form and dosage relies on the infection a person has.

People have the right to take the drug v or without food. They have to thoroughly shiver the liquid kind before use.

Some instances of typical dosages include:

InfectionDosage
community-acquired pneumoniatonsillitisskin infectionsan initial sheep of 500 milligrams (mg) adhered to by 250 mg once everyday until day 5
mild-to-moderate bacter COPD exacerbations500 mg per day for 3 daysORan initial sheep of 500 mg adhered to by 250 mg once daily until job 5
sinus infections500 mg per day for 3 days
chancroid genital ulcersa single dose of 1 gram (g)
urethritiscervicitisa single dose that 1 g
gonococcal urethritiscervicitisa single dose of 2 g

Using antibiotics incorrectly can lead come the advance of drug-resistant strains the bacteria, definition that antibiotics no longer work against them. This is called antibiotic resistance.

When acquisition azithromycin or any type of other antibiotic, human being should heed the complying with precautions:

Take the whole course of antibiotics the medical professional recommends, also when starting to feel better.Do no take antibiotics without a prescription. Not all antibiotics deserve to treat all bacteria.Do no share antibiotics.Do no take antibiotics top top a various dosing schedule than the one a doctor prescribes.Immediately contact a physician if side impacts develop.Go come the emergency room for symptoms of an allergy reaction, such together trouble breathing.

Learn much more about antibiotic resistance here.


Like every drugs, azithromycin can have details side effects. These space usually minor. In clinical trials, only 0.7% of civilization stopped taking Zithromax due to the fact that of its next effects.

Most the the side effects that led civilization to protect against taking the drug were gastrointestinal, such as:

nauseavomitingpain in the abdomen

Less usual side effects, developing in up to 1% that cases, include:

heart palpitations or chest paindizzinessa rashdry skinsun sensitivity

Serious side effects are rare yet can include:

liver damage, particularly in world with a history of liver health problemsserious allergic reactions

People who have myasthenia gravis, a condition that causes muscle weakness, may develop worsening symptoms or breath problems.

People with a history of allergic reactions to macrolides or ketolides have to not take azithromycin.

Doctors need to not prescribe this drug to act pneumonia if a person:

has actually a hospital-acquired infection has actually bacteremia requires a continue to be in the hospital is older or debilitatedhas a significant underlying health and wellness problem, such together immune system problems

People need to not count on azithromycin to treat syphilis.

A person should speak come a doctor around any currently heart, kidney, and liver conditions before taking azithromycin, consisting of an irregular heartbeat and also especially QT prolongation.

What walk the research study say?

A huge 2012 cohort study uncovered a tiny increase in the hazard of cardiovascular death among people taking azithromycin. The threat was greater among those with other risk components for love disease, such as smoking, short physical task levels, and also a high body mass index (BMI).

The research reported the when contrasted with amoxicillin, there to be 47 additional cardiovascular deaths per 1 million azithromycin prescriptions. Among people with the highest risk of love disease, there were 245 an ext deaths every 1 million courses of azithromycin.

This says that other antibiotics, such together amoxicillin, might be a safer alternative for people with heart condition or certain species of heart arrythmias.

In 2018, the FDA issued a warning around the long term use of azithromycin in civilization with particular blood or lymph node cancers who have stem cell transplants. Emerging research has said that azithromycin may boost the danger of cancer relapse in these people.

Following a stem cell transplant, some human being take azithromycin to mitigate the hazard of an inflammatory lung problem called bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome. The FDA have actually not authorized azithromycin for this use, however.

Rarely, azithromycin can cause liver toxicity. Human being should prevent taking the drug and call their physician if they develop any kind of symptoms the liver problems, including dark urine, itching, or yellow eyes.

In newborns younger than 42 job old, azithromycin may cause a dangerous condition called infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis. Caregivers should call a doctor if a infant becomes irritable or vomits once eating.


Azithromycin may connect with other medications a human is taking.

For example, making use of azithromycin while taking nelfinavir, i beg your pardon is a drug that helps treat HIV, can increase the danger of liver abnormalities and also hearing problems.

Azithromycin can additionally increase the impacts of blood thinners such together warfarin.

Other drugs the may connect with azithromycin include:

digoxin, a heart medicationphenytoin, a seizure medication

A person should tell a doctor around all present medications, supplements, and also remedies prior to taking azithromycin. Constantly speak to a doctor before stopping acquisition medications.


Azithromycin might be safe to use throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Studies of pets who got very large doses that azithromycin go not discover an raised risk of heritage or birth defects.

However, there have actually been no high high quality studies in pregnant humans, so the medicine label right now states the “azithromycin should be used during pregnancy just if clearly needed.”

Azithromycin have the right to transfer into breast milk and may remain current for 48 hours adhering to a person’s critical dose. Although the is normally safe come use as soon as breastfeeding, azithromycin may reason diarrhea, vomiting, or a decision in part babies.

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A person should phone call a doctor if they are pregnant, might be pregnant, or are breastfeeding before taking azithromycin. If a parenting infant establishes side results while the parental is acquisition azithromycin, call a doctor for advice.