Medically reviewed by Zara Risoldi Cochrane, Pharm.D., M.S., FASCP — Written by Zawn Villines on July 11, 2019

Azithromycin (Zithromax) is an antibiotic that have the right to assist treat certain bacterial infections. It is primarily safe to usage while breastfeeding, but people via existing heart problems have to avoid this drug.

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Azithromycin is an antibiotic in the macrolides course. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved azithromycin in 1991.

Like all antibiotics, azithromycin have the right to only fight particular bacteria. For this reason, it is necessary to talk to a physician prior to taking the drug. It is not efficient against viral infections or as a pain reliever before.

This write-up offers a summary of azithromycin, consisting of its provides, side effects, warnings, and drug interactions.


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Share on PinterestA medical professional might prescribe azithromycin for a sinus infection, COPD complications, or tonsillitis, for instance.
Azithromycin deserve to fight a broad selection of bacteria, including many type of in the Streptococcus household. It have the right to soptimal harmful bacteria from prospering.

Healthcare suppliers tend to use this drug to treat mild-to-moderate infections of the lungs, sinprovides, skin, and various other body parts.

A physician might prescribe azithromycin to treat the adhering to bacterial infections:

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

Azithromycin is a prescription medication. Because of this, human being need to not take it without a prescription.

The drug is easily accessible in the develop of a tablet computer, an dental suspension solution, an eye drop, and an injection. The ideal form and also dosage relies on the infection a perchild has.

People deserve to take the drug through or without food. They should thoapproximately shake the liquid form before usage.

Some examples of prevalent dosages include:

InfectionDosage
community-acquired pneumoniatonsillitisskin infectionsan initial dose of 500 milligrams (mg) followed by 250 mg when everyday till day 5
mild-to-modeprice bacterial COPD exacerbations500 mg per day for 3 daysORan initial dose of 500 mg complied with by 250 mg when daily till day 5
sinus infections500 mg per day for 3 days
chancroid genital ulcersa single dose of 1 gram (g)
urethritiscervicitisa solitary dose of 1 g
gonococcal urethritiscervicitisa solitary dose of 2 g

Using antibiotics incorrectly can bring about the development of drug-resistant strains of bacteria, interpretation that antibiotics no much longer work against them. This is dubbed antibiotic resistance.

When taking azithromycin or any type of various other antibiotic, civilization should heed the following precautions:

Take the whole course of antibiotics the medical professional recommends, even when founding to feel much better.Do not take antibiotics without a prescription. Not all antibiotics have the right to treat all bacteria.Do not share antibiotics.Do not take antibiotics on a different dosing schedule than the one a physician prescribes.Immediately speak to a doctor if side effects build.Go to the emergency room for symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as trouble breathing.

Learn more about antibiotic resistance below.


Like all drugs, azithromycin have the right to have specific side effects. These are usually minor. In clinical trials, only 0.7% of world quit taking Zithromax because of its side impacts.

Many of the side results that led people to speak taking the drug were gastrointestinal, such as:

nauseavomitingpain in the abdomen

Less common side results, emerging in up to 1% of instances, include:

heart palpitations or chest paindizzinessa rashdry skinsunlight sensitivity

Serious side effects are rare but deserve to include:

liver damages, specifically in human being via a background of liver health problemssevere allergic reactions

People who have actually myasthenia gravis, a condition that causes muscle weakness, may build worsening symptoms or breapoint troubles.

People via a background of allergic reactions to macrolides or ketolides must not take azithromycin.

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

has actually a hospital-gained infection has bacteremia needs a stay in the hospital is older or debilitatedhas actually a significant underlying health and wellness problem, such as immune device problems

People need to not count on azithromycin to treat syphilis.

A perchild should stop to a medical professional around any existing heart, kidney, and also liver conditions before taking azithromycin, including an irconsistent heartbeat and specifically QT prolongation.

What does the research study say?

A large 2012 cohort study uncovered a little rise in the danger of cardiovascular fatality among human being taking azithromycin. The threat was higher among those through other risk components for heart disease, such as smoking cigarettes, low physical activity levels, and also a high body mass index (BMI).

The study reported that once compared via amoxicillin, tbelow were 47 added cardiovascular deaths per 1 million azithromycin prescriptions. Among world via the highest threat of heart condition, tbelow were 245 even more deaths per 1 million courses of azithromycin.

This argues that other antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, may be a safer alternative for world with heart illness or particular forms of heart arrythmias.

In 2018, the FDA issued a warning about the lengthy term use of azithromycin in human being via particular blood or lymph node cancers that have actually stem cell transplants. Emerging research has suggested that azithromycin might boost the risk of cancer relapse in these human being.

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

Radepend, azithromycin have the right to cause liver toxicity. People need to soptimal taking the drug and also contact their medical professional if they develop any symptoms of liver difficulties, including dark urine, itching, or yellow eyes.

In newborns younger than 42 days old, azithromycin may cause a dangerous problem referred to as infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis. Caregivers should contact a doctor if a baby becomes irritable or vomits once eating.


Azithromycin might interact through various other medications a perkid is taking.

For example, utilizing azithromycin while taking nelfinavir, which is a drug that helps treat HIV, ca rise the risk of liver abnormalities and hearing troubles.

Azithromycin deserve to additionally rise the effects of blood thinners such as warfarin.

Other drugs that may connect through azithromycin include:

digoxin, a heart medicationphenytoin, a seizure medication

A perkid need to tell a medical professional about all present drugs, supplements, and remedies prior to taking azithromycin. Almeans speak to a medical professional prior to stopping taking medications.


Azithromycin may be safe to usage throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Studies of pets who obtained incredibly big doses of azithromycin did not discover an raised hazard of miscarriage or birth defects.

However, tright here have been no high top quality researches in pregnant humans, so the drug label presently claims that “azithromycin must be used during pregnancy only if plainly essential.”

Azithromycin can transport into breast milk and also may remajor existing for 48 hrs adhering to a person’s last dose. Although it is primarily safe to use when breastfeeding, azithromycin may reason diarrhea, vomiting, or a rash in some babies.

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A perkid should tell a doctor if they are pregnant, can be pregnant, or are breastfeeding prior to taking azithromycin. If a nursing infant develops side results while the parent is taking azithromycin, speak to a doctor for advice.