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Table of Contents > Drugs >  Azithromycin
Azithromycin
Pronunciation
Brand Names
Therapeutic Categories
Reasons not to take this medicine
What is this medicine used for?
How does it work?
How is it best taken?
What do I do if I miss a dose?
What are the precautions when taking this medicine?
What are the common side effects of this medicine?
What should I monitor?
Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately
How should I store this medicine?
General statements

Pronunciation
(az ith roe MYE sin)

Brand Names
Zithromax™

Therapeutic Categories
Antibiotic, Macrolide

Reasons not to take this medicine

  • If you have an allergy to erythromycin, clarithromycin, dirithromycin, azithromycin, or any other part of the medicine.
  • If you have liver disease or take pimozide.


What is this medicine used for?

  • This medicine is used as a prevention and treatment for a variety of bacterial infections.


How does it work?

  • Azithromycin prevents protein production in bacteria. This allows the body to get the infection under control.


How is it best taken?

  • To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
  • For capsule or liquid (suspension), take on an empty stomach. Take 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals.
  • The tablet can be taken with or without food. Take with food if this medicine causes an upset stomach.
  • A liquid (suspension) is available if you cannot swallow pills. Those who have feeding tubes can also use the liquid. Flush the feeding tube before and after medicine is given. Stop tube feeding for 2 hours before giving medicine. Restart an hour after giving. Shake well first.
  • Azithromycin single dose (suspension) packet should be mixed with 1/4 cup of water. Mix well and drink. Add another 1/4 cup of water, mix, and drink.
  • Use entire prescription as directed, even if feeling better.


What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as possible.
  • If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one. Return to your regular schedule.
  • Do not take a double dose or extra doses.


What are the precautions when taking this medicine?

  • Avoid alcohol (includes wine, beer, or liquor). Can make infection more difficult to treat.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Make sure to tell about the allergy and how it affected you. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, throat; or any other symptoms involved.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are breast-feeding.


What are the common side effects of this medicine?

  • Nausea or vomiting. Small frequent meals, frequent mouth care, sucking hard candy, or chewing gum may help.
  • Diarrhea. Yogurt, Bifidobacterium bifidum , or Lactobacillus acidophilus may help. These products are available at health food stores or in some pharmacies.
  • Belly pain and cramps.


What should I monitor?

  • Watch for change in temperature or worsening of infection.


Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately

  • Signs of a life-threatening reaction. These include wheezing; tightness in the chest; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; fits; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Fever and/or chills.
  • Severe nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
  • Any rash.
  • No improvement in condition or feeling worse.


How should I store this medicine?

  • Store capsules, tablets, liquid (suspension) in a tight container at room temperature.
  • Any unused portion of liquid (suspension) should be thrown away after 10 days.


General statements

  • Do not share your medicine with others and do not take anyone else's medicine.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Keep a list of all your medicines (prescription, herbal/supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter) with you. Give this list to healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, pharmacist, physician assistant).
  • Talk with healthcare provider before starting any new medicine, including over-the-counter or natural products (herbs, vitamins).


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