Azithromycin belong to a class of drugs called macrolide antibiotics. Azithromycin kills bacteria in the body hence, it is used to treat many different types of bacterial infections such as respiratory infections, skin infections, ear infections, and sexually transmitted diseases. Azithromycin is not effective against viral infection such as the common cold or flu.
Do not use azithromycin if you have ever had an allergic reaction to this medicine or to the macrolide group of drugs such as erythromycin (E-Mycin, Ery-Tab, E.E.S.), clarithromycin (Biaxin). Before taking azithromycin, tell your doctor if you have: liver disease; kidney disease; a heart rhythm disorder; or a history of Long QT syndrome. You may not be able to use azithromycin, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment if you have any of the aforementioned conditions.
Azithromycin is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. It is also not known whether it passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. If you are breast-feeding a baby, do not take this medicine without informing your doctor. This medication should be taken for the entire length of time prescribed by your doctor even if your symptoms get better before the treatment is complete. Take azithromycin on an empty stomach 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals. Do not take a double dose to make up for the missed dose.
If you used too much of this drug, immediately seek medical attention especially if symptoms of azithromycin overdose is suspected such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach discomfort. Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, a possible sign of a new infection. If you experience watery or bloody diarrhea, call your doctor. Do not use any medicine to stop the diarrhea unless your prescribed by your doctor. Azithromycin can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight hence, sunburn may result. To avoid this complication, use a sunscreen (minimum SPF 15) and wear protective clothing if you must be out in the sun. Try to avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (sunlamps or tanning beds).
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Discontinue azithromycin right away if you have any of these serious side effects: watery or bloody diarrhea; chest pain, uneven heartbeats; or nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
You may continue azithromycin but inform your doctor, if you have any of these less serious side effects: mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or stomach pain; dizziness, tired feeling, or headache; vaginal itching or discharge; or mild itching or skin rash Talk to your doctor about any other unusual side effect other than those listed above.
Do not take antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium within 2 hours of taking azithromycin. Before taking azithromycin, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs: nelfinavir (Viracept); digoxin (Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps); ergot medicine such as methysergide (Sansert), ergotamine (Ergostat, Medihaler, Cafergot, Ercaf, Wigraine), dihydroergotamine mesylate (D.H.E., Migranal Nasal Spray); triazolam (Halcion); carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol);
cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune); phenytoin (Dilantin); cholesterol-lowering medicines such as lovastatin (Mevacor), atorvastatin (Lipitor), or cerivastatin (Baycol); a calcium channel blocker such as diltiazem (Cartia XT, Diltiazem, Tiazac), felodipine (Plendil), nicardipine (Cardene), nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat), nimodipine (Nimotop), verapamil (Calan, Covera-HS); HIV medicines such as indinavir (Crixivan), ritonavir (Norvir), saquinavir (Invirase); alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), midazolam (Versed), triazolam (Halcion); theophylline (Theo-Dur, Theolair, Theochron); warfarin (Coumadin); pimozide (Orap); or another antibiotic, especially clarithromycin (Biaxin) or erythromycin (E-Mycin, E.E.S, Ery-Tab). You may not be able to use azithromycin, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment if you taking any of the above mentioned medicines. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use including vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors to avoid drug interactions.
Zithromax for oral suspension is supplied in bottles containing azithromycin dihydrate powder equivalent to 300 mg, 600 mg, 900 mg, or 1200 mg azithromycin per bottle and the following inactive ingredients: sucrose; sodium phosphate; tribasic; anhydrous; hydroxypropyl cellulose; xanthan gum; FD&C red #40; and spray dried artificial cherry, creme de vanilla and banana flavors. After constitution, each 5 ml of suspension contains 100 mg or 200 mg of azithromycin.
Azithromycin has the following structural formula: