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Azithromycin

Antibiotic

Brand names:

Zithromax®, Zmax®

Often used for:

Infections

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About Azithromycin

Azithromycin is an antibiotic. It works to kill bacteria that cause infections.

Azithromycin comes in different forms. The extended release form may require only one dose. Follow dosing instructions carefully.

Azithromycin dose changes may occur based on levels in the blood.

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May be taken as a tablet by mouth

 
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May be taken as a liquid by mouth

 
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May be given as a liquid into a vein by IV

 
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Possible Side Effects

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • Rash, itching
  • Dizziness
  • Sun sensitivity
  • Changes in liver function

Not all patients who take azithromycin will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Tips for Families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Let a doctor know if the patient has severe diarrhea while on this medicine.
  • Patients should protect their skin from the sun while taking this medicine.
  • While taking azithromycin, patients should not take antacids unless recommend by a doctor.
  • Finish all doses of the medicine as instructed by a doctor or pharmacist.

Azithromycin at Home:

  • Follow the dosing instructions carefully. Some forms may require only 1 dose (Zmax®).
  • Take Zmax® on an empty stomach. Other forms of azithromycin can be taken with or without food. Take with food if stomach upset occurs.
  • If vomiting occurs within 1 hour of taking azithromycin, call your doctor to see if another dose is needed.
  • Azithromycin packets: Mix powder in ¼ cup water, and drink immediately. Add more water to cup and drink to ensure full dose.
  • Liquid azithromycin: Shake well, and use the measuring device that comes with the medicine.
  • Store azithromycin (oral forms) at room temperature.
  • Give a missed dose as soon as possible. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the dose. Do not give 2 doses at the same time. 
  • Do not use the medicine past the expiration date.
  • Follow instructions for safe storage and disposal.