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Brand Names: Zithromax, Zithromac, Vinzam, Zitromax, Zmax,Sumamed, Aztrin, Zitrocin, Azibiot, Azifine, AziCip, Azi Sandoz
Generic Name: Azithromycin
What is Zithromax
Zithromax is an antibiotic related to erythromycin. It is prescribed for adults to treat certain mild to moderate skin infections; upper and lower respiratory tract infections, including pharyngitis (strep throat), tonsillitis, and pneumonia; sexually transmitted infections of the cervix or urinary tract; and genital ulcer disease in men. In children, Zithromax is used to treat middle ear infection, pneumonia, tonsillitis, and strep throat.
How does it work?
This medicine contains the active ingredient azithromycin, which is a type of medicine known as a macrolide antibiotic. It is used to treat infections caused by bacteria.
Azithromycin works by preventing bacteria from producing proteins that are essential to them. Without these proteins the bacteria cannot grow, replicate and increase in numbers. Azithromycin therefore stops the spread of infection and remaining bacteria are killed by the body's immune system or eventually die.
Azithromycin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that is active against a wide variety of bacteria that cause a wide variety of infections. Azithromycin may be used to treat infections of the upper or lower airways, skin or soft tissue, or ears. It may also be used to treat the sexually-transmitted infection chlamydia.
To make sure the bacteria causing an infection are susceptible to azithromycin your doctor may take a tissue sample, for example a swab from the throat or skin.
Most important fact about this drug
There is a possibility of rare but very serious reactions to Zithromax, including angioedema (swelling of the face, lips, and neck that impedes speaking, swallowing, and breathing), anaphylaxis (a violent, even fatal allergic reaction), and serious skin diseases. If you develop these symptoms, stop taking Zithromax and call your doctor immediately.
How should you take this medication?
Take Zithromax capsules or oral suspension at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal. Zithromax tablets can be taken with or without food. Do not take any form with an antacid that contains aluminum or magnesium, such as Di-Gel, Gelusil, Maalox, and others.
Be sure to take the drug as prescribed. If you stop taking Zithromax too soon, some germs may survive and the illness may return.
If you miss a dose...
Take the forgotten dose as soon as you remember. If you don't remember until the next day, skip the dose and go back to your regular schedule. Never try to "catch up" by doubling the dose.
Zithromax should be stored at room temperature.
What side effects may occur?
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Zithromax.
More common side effects may include:
Abdominal pain, diarrhea or loose stools, nausea or vomiting
Less common side effects may include:
Blood in the stools, chest pain, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, gas, headache, heart palpitations, indigestion, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes), kidney infection, light sensitivity, rash, severe allergic reaction including swelling (as in hives), vaginal inflammation, vertigo, yeast infection
Other uncommon side effects sometimes seen in children include:
Agitation, constipation, feeling of illness, fever, insomnia, loss of appetite, nervousness, overactivity, pinkeye, stomach inflammation
The single large dose of Zithromax that is prescribed to treat sexually transmitted infection of the cervix or urinary tract is more likely to cause stomach and bowel side effects than the smaller doses prescribed for a skin or respiratory tract infection.
Do not take Zithromax if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it or to similar antibiotics such as erythromycin (E.E.S., PCE, and others).
Special warnings about this medication
Like certain other antibiotics, Zithromax may cause a potentially life-threatening form of diarrhea called pseudomembranous colitis. Pseudomembranous colitis may clear up spontaneously when the drug is stopped; if it doesn't, hospital treatment may be required. If you develop diarrhea, check with your doctor immediately.
If you have a liver problem, your doctor should monitor you very carefully while you are taking Zithromax.
Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication
If Zithromax is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Zithromax with antacids containing aluminum or magnesium, such as Maalox and Mylanta.
The following interactions can occur with erythromycin, a similar drug.
Certain antihistamines such as Hismanal and Seldane
Cyclosporine (Neoral and Sandimmune)
Digoxin (Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps)
Ergot-containing drugs such as Cafergot and D.H.E.
Theophylline drugs such as Bronkodyl, Slo-Phyllin, Theo-Dur, and others
Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. You should take Zithromax during pregnancy only if it is clearly needed. It is not known whether Zithromax can make its way into breast milk. If the drug is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to stop breastfeeding until your treatment is finished.
Respiratory Diseases, Tonsillitis, Strep Throat, and Skin Infections
The usual dose of Zithromax is 500 milligrams in a single dose the first day. This is followed by 250 milligrams once daily for the next 4 days.
More info on Zithromax and Azithromycin