Zithromax Side Effects
Generic Name: azithromycin
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Nov 21, 2020.
Note: This document contains side effect information about azithromycin. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Zithromax.
Common side effects of Zithromax include: diarrhea, loose stools, and nausea. Other side effects include: abdominal pain, and vomiting. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.
For the Consumer
Applies to azithromycin: oral powder for suspension, oral powder for suspension extended release, oral tablet
Other dosage forms:
Side effects requiring immediate medical attention
Along with its needed effects, azithromycin (the active ingredient contained in Zithromax) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking azithromycin:
- loose stools
- Blistering, crusting, irritation, itching, or reddening of the skin
- cracked, dry, or scaly skin
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
- bloody or cloudy urine
- bloody, black, or tarry stools
- body aches or pain
- burning while urinating
- chest pain
- cough increased
- cough producing mucus
- dark urine
- difficult or labored breathing
- difficult or painful urination
- dryness or soreness of the throat
- fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
- general feeling of discomfort or illness
- general feeling of tiredness or weakness
- irregular or slow heart rate
- itching or rash
- joint or muscle pain
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
- light-colored stools
- loss of appetite
- muscle aches and pains
- nausea or vomiting
- noisy breathing
- passing of gas
- red skin lesions, often with a purple center
- red, irritated eyes
- redness or swelling in the ear
- runny nose
- sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
- stomach pain, continuing
- stomach pain, fullness, or discomfort
- stuffy nose
- swelling of the face, ankles, hands, feet, or lower legs
- tender, swollen glands in the neck
- tightness in the chest
- trouble with sleeping
- trouble with swallowing
- unpleasant breath odor
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- upper right abdominal or stomach pain
- voice changes
- vomiting of blood
- yellow eyes or skin
Incidence not known
- Abdominal or stomach cramps or tenderness
- bleeding gums
- blood in the urine or stools
- blurred vision
- change in hearing
- clay-colored stools
- continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
- decreased urine output
- diarrhea, watery and severe, which may also be bloody
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- greatly decreased frequency of urination or amount of urine
- increased thirst
- loss of hearing
- lower back or side pain
- muscle twitching
- pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
- pale skin
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- rapid weight gain
- unusual weight loss
Side effects not requiring immediate medical attention
Some side effects of azithromycin may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.
Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Acid or sour stomach
- aggressive or angry
- bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
- burning feeling in the chest or stomach
- burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
- change in taste
- changes in the color of the tongue
- dry mouth
- excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
- feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
- full feeling
- increase in body movements
- itching of the vagina or genital area
- lack or loss of strength
- mental depression
- pain during sexual intercourse
- quick to react or overreact emotionally
- rapidly changing moods
- rash with flat lesions or small raised lesions on the skin
- redness of the skin
- sensation of spinning
- sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
- stomach upset
- thick, white vaginal discharge with no odor or with a mild odor
- white patches in the mouth, tongue, or throat
Incidence not known
- Difficulty with moving
- increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight
- muscle pain or stiffness
- pain in the joints
- redness or other discoloration of the skin
- severe sunburn
- trouble sitting still
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to azithromycin: intravenous powder for injection, oral capsule, oral powder for reconstitution, oral powder for reconstitution extended release, oral tablet
Very common (10% or more): Diarrhea (up to 52.8%), nausea (up to 32.6%), abdominal pain (up to 32.2%), loose stools (up to 19.1%), flatulence (up to 10.7%)
Postmarketing reports: Pyloric stenosis[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Decreased lymphocyte, hematocrit, hemoglobin, or neutrophil count, increased eosinophil count, increased platelets, hematocrit, lymphocytes, basophils, monocytes, or neutrophils
Common (1% to 10%): Headache, dizziness, paresthesia, dysgeusia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Somnolence, hypesthesia
Postmarketing reports: Hyperactivity[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Deafness, fatigue
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Candidiasis, ear disorder, asthenia, malaise, face edema, pyrexia, pain, post procedural complications, hearing disturbances/impairment, tinnitus, laboratory abnormalities, fungal or bacterial infection
Postmarketing reports: Hearing loss, taste/smell perversion and/or loss[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Rash, pruritus
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Drug reaction of eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS)
Common (1% to 10%): Decreased blood bicarbonate, anorexia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Abnormal sodium, increased blood alkaline phosphatase, bicarbonate, or chloride
Frequency not reported: Increased lactate dehydrogenase, decreased sodium or potassium
Common (1% to 10%): Dyspnea
Common (1% to 10%): Arthralgia
Common (1% to 10%): Vaginitis/vaginal infection
Common (1% to 10%): Allergic reaction
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Angioedema, hypersensitivity
Postmarketing reports: Fatal anaphylaxis[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Visual impairment
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hepatitis, increased AST, ALT, GGT, or blood bilirubin
Frequency not reported: Hepatic failure/fatal hepatic failure, fulminant hepatitis, hepatic necrosis[Ref]
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Palpitations, hot flush, edema, chest pain, peripheral edema
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Nervousness, insomnia
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Agitation
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Renal pain, increased blood urea nitrogen and creatinine
Frequency not reported: Acute renal failure, interstitial nephritis/nephritis[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Moniliasis, flu syndrome[Ref]
1. "Product Information. Zithromax injection (azithromycin)" Pfizer US Pharmaceuticals, New York, NY.
2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0
3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0
4. "Product Information. Azithromycin Product Information (azithromycin)." Pfizer US Pharmaceuticals, New York, NY.
5. "Product Information. Zithromax (azithromycin)." Pfizer US Pharmaceuticals, New York, NY.
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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.