Generic Name: azithromycin
Brand Names: Zithromax, Zmax
What is azithromycin?
Zithromax is used to treat many different types of infections caused by bacteria, such as respiratory infections, skin infections, and ear infections. Zithromax is an effective treatment against sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, non-specific urethritis, ureaplasma urealyticum and mycoplasma genitalium.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Zithromax if you are allergic to azithromycin, or if:
you have ever had jaundice or liver problems caused by taking Zithromax; or you are allergic to similar drugs such as clarithromycin, erythromycin, or telithromycin.
To make sure Zithromax is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
liver disease; kidney disease; myasthenia gravis; a heart rhythm disorder; or a history of Long QT syndrome.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
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 Zithromax to a child younger than 6 months old.
How should I take Zithromax?
Take Zithromax 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 with azithromycin may not be the same for every type of infection.
When treating gonorrhea, ureaplasma urealyticum and chlamydia, take a dose of 1000mg of Zithromax (two 500mg tablets). When treating Mycoplasma genitalium and nonspecific urethritis, the dose should be increased to 2000 mg (4 tablets of 500mg). Zithromax should be taken on an empty stomach.
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. Zithromax will not treat a viral infection such as the flu or a common cold.
What happens if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
What happens if I overdose?
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room right away.
What should I avoid while taking Zithromax?
Do not take antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium within 2 hours before or after you take Zithromax. 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 may decrease the absorption of azithromycin 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 Zithromax and call your doctor. Do not use anti-diarrhea medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Zithromax can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.
Zithromax side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Zithromax: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
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); 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 Zithromax side effects may include:
diarrhea; nausea, vomiting, stomach pain; or headache.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
What other drugs will affect Zithromax?
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
nelfinavir; or a blood thinner - warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven. live bacterial vaccines.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with azithromycin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Throw away any unused liquid medicine after 10 days.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.