AZITHROMYCIN (Zithromax) is used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, such as bronchitis; pneumonia; sexually transmitted diseases (STD); and infections of the ears, lungs, skin, and throat. Azithromycin is in a class of medications called macrolide antibiotics. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria. Antibiotics will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.
How should this medicine be used?
Azithromycin comes as a tablet and oral suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken with or without food once a day for 1-5 days. To help you remember to take azithromycin, take it around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take azithromycin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Shake the liquid well before each use to mix the medication evenly. Use only the syringe provided to measure the correct amount of medication. Rinse the syringe with water after taking the full dose of medication.
The tablets should be taken with a full glass of water.
Take azithromycin until you finish the prescription, even if you feel better. Stopping azithromycin too soon may cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics.
Other uses for this medicine
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Azithromycin is also used sometimes to treat H. pylori infection, early Lyme disease, and other infections. It is also used sometimes to prevent heart infection in patients having dental or other procedures and to prevent STD in victims of sexual assault. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking azithromycin
Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to azithromycin, clarithromycin (Biaxin), dirithromycin (Dynabac), erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin), or any other medications.
tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin); cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune); digoxin (Lanoxin); dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal); ergotamine (Ergomar); medications that suppress the immune system; nelfinavir (Viracept); phenytoin (Dilantin); and terfenadine (Seldane). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. If you take antacids (Mylanta, Maalox), take them 2 hours before or 4 hours after azithromycin. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had cystic fibrosis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), irregular heartbeat, or kidney or liver disease. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking azithromycin, call your doctor.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Azithromycin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away: upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, mild skin rash. Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately: severe skin rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing or swallowing, swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs, hoarseness, yellowing of the skin or eyes, rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
Azithromycin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.