Generic Name: azithromycin (a ZITH roe MYE sin)
Brand Names: Azithromycin 3 Day Dose Pack, Azithromycin 5 Day Dose Pack, Zithromax, Zithromax TRI-PAK, Zithromax Z-Pak, Zmax, Zithromax IV
What is azithromycin?
Azithromycin is an antibiotic that fights bacteria.
Azithromycin is used to treat many different types of infections caused by bacteria, such as respiratory infections, skin infections, ear infections, and sexually transmitted diseases.
Azithromycin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use azithromycin if you have ever had jaundice or liver problems when you have previously taken this medicine.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use azithromycin if you are allergic to it, or if:
you have ever had jaundice or liver problems caused by taking azithromycin; or
you are allergic to similar drugs such as clarithromycin, erythromycin, or telithromycin.
To make sure azithromycin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
a heart rhythm disorder; or
a history of Long QT syndrome.
This medicine is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
It is not known whether azithromycin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Do not give this medicine to a child younger than 6 months old.
How should I take azithromycin?
Take azithromycin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. The dose and length of treatment may not be the same for every type of infection.
You may take most forms of azithromycin with or without food.
Take Zmax extended release liquid (oral suspension) on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.
To use the oral suspension single dose packet: Open the packet and pour the medicine into 2 ounces of water. Stir this mixture and drink all of it right away. Do not save for later use. To make sure you get the entire dose, add a little more water to the same glass, swirl gently and drink right away.
Throw away any mixed Zmax oral suspension that has not been used within 12 hours.
Shake the oral suspension (liquid) well just before you measure a dose. Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics. Azithromycin will not treat a viral infection such as the flu or a common cold.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Throw away any unused liquid medicine after 10 days.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking azithromycin?
Do not take antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium within 2 hours before or after you take azithromycin. This includes Acid Gone, Aldroxicon, Alternagel, Di-Gel, Gaviscon, Gelusil, Genaton, Maalox, Maldroxal, Milk of Magnesia, Mintox, Mylagen, Mylanta, Pepcid Complete, Rolaids, Rulox, and others. These antacids can make azithromycin less effective when taken at the same time.
Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, stop taking this medicine and call your doctor. Do not use anti-diarrhea medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Azithromycin can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.
Azithromycin side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to azithromycin: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
In rare cases, azithromycin may cause a severe skin reaction that can be fatal if it spreads to other parts of the body. Seek medical treatment if you have a new or worsening skin rash with fever, swollen glands, flu symptoms, or severe tingling or numbness.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
severe stomach pain, diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
headache with chest pain and severe dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeats;
liver problems - nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
severe skin reaction - fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
Older adults may be more likely to have side effects on heart rhythm, including a life-threatening fast heart rate.
Common azithromycin side effects may include:
nausea, vomiting, stomach pain; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect azithromycin?
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
a blood thinner - warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with azithromycin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
More about azithromycin
- Azithromycin extended-release oral suspension
- Azithromycin oral suspension
- Azithromycin single-dose packet
- Azithromycin tablets
- More (2) »
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about azithromycin.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use azithromycin only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2016 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 17.04. Revision Date: 2016-07-05, 4:31:14 PM.