Generic Name: azithromycin ophthalmic (a ZITH roe MYE sin off THAL mik)
Brand Name: AzaSite
Medically reviewed on January 8, 2018
What is azithromycin ophthalmic?
Azithromycin ophthalmic (for the eyes) is used to treat eye infections caused by bacteria.
Azithromycin ophthalmic may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Stop using this medicine and get emergency medical help if you have any signs of a rare but serious 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.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to azithromycin (Zithromax).
FDA pregnancy category B. Azithromycin ophthalmic is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
It is not known whether azithromycin ophthalmic passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
This medicine should not be used in a child younger than 1 year old.
How should I use azithromycin ophthalmic?
Azithromycin ophthalmic is usually applied twice daily for 2 days, and then once daily for 5 more days. Use exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Wash your hands before using the eye drops.
To apply the eye drops:
Tilt your head back slightly and pull down your lower eyelid to create a small pocket. Hold the dropper above the eye with the tip down. Look up and away from the dropper and squeeze out a drop.
Close your eyes for 2 or 3 minutes with your head tipped down, without blinking or squinting. Gently press your finger to the inside corner of the eye for about 1 minute, to keep the liquid from draining into your tear duct.
Use only the number of drops your doctor has prescribed. If you use more than one drop, wait about 5 minutes between drops.
Wait at least 10 minutes before using any other eye drops your doctor has prescribed.
Do not touch the tip of the eye dropper or place it directly on your eye. A contaminated dropper can infect your eye, which could lead to serious vision problems.
Do not use the eye drops if the liquid has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.
Use this medication for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared.
Store an unopened bottle of azithromycin ophthalmic in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
After opening the bottle, you may keep the medication at room temperature for up to 14 days. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use. Protect from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use 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 ophthalmic?
Do not use this medication while wearing contact lenses. Azithromycin ophthalmic may contain a preservative that can discolor soft contact lenses. Wait at least 15 minutes after using azithromycin ophthalmic before putting your contact lenses in.
You should not wear contact lenses while you still have active symptoms of the eye infection you are treating (eye redness, irritation, or drainage).
Azithromycin ophthalmic side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing or swallowing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using azithromycin ophthalmic and call your doctor at once if you have:
drainage or crusting of your eye;
severe burning, stinging, itching, or other irritation after using the eye drops;
feeling like something is in your eye;
watery eyes, increased light sensitivity;
eye pain, redness, or swelling;
any signs of a new infection; or
signs of a rare but serious 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.
Common side effects may include:
dry or itchy eyes;
changes in your sense of taste;
stuffy nose; or
mild stinging, burning, or irritation of your eyes.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. 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 ophthalmic?
It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on azithromycin ophthalmic used in the eyes. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell your doctor about all medicines you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.01.
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- Drug class: ophthalmic anti-infectives