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What is Azithromycin?

10th May 2019

Azithromycin is a medication used in the treatment of a wide array of bacterial infections. It is an antibiotic that is classified as the ‘Macrolide-Type.’ It works by effectively preventing the growth of bacteria in the body of patients. It is used to treat Chlamydia, strep throat, traveller’s diarrhoea, pneumonia, and other intestinal infections. The medicine will not work well with viral infections like flu and common colds. It is not required to use or abuse any antibiotic as it can lead to antibiotic tolerance and reduced effectiveness.

How to use Azithromycin antibiotics

Always take Azithromycin medication orally as directed by your doctor. Use once with or without meals. You can take the antibiotic with food if you experience an upset stomach.

Antacids that have magnesium or aluminium can reduce the absorption of Azithromycin if taken at the same time. If you are prescribed with an antacid with the above-mentioned elements, allow an interval of at least 2 hours before taking your Azithromycin medication.

Side effects of Azithromycin

When taking Azithromycin, some patients reportedly experience some side effects which include diarrhoea, nausea, upset stomach, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Inform your doctor when these side effects persist or become worse.

Your physician has prescribed this medication since he has perceived that the benefit to you is much bigger than the risk of any side effects.

Inform your doctor immediately if these serious side effects happen:

  • Blurred vision
  • Changes in hearing
  • Deafness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Signs of liver problems
  • Difficulty speaking or swallowing
  • Exhaustion
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Yellowish skin or eyes
  • Dark urine

Seek medical help right away if any of these rare but serious side effects are experienced: irregular heartbeat, fainting, and severe dizziness.

The use of Azithromycin for a prolonged period of time can lead to oral thrush or yeast infection. Call your doctor if you notice any visible white patches around your mouth, or where you have vaginal discharge or other symptoms.

Very serious allergic reaction to Azithromycin is rare. But, get emergency medical assistance immediately if you notice any allergic reaction such as swollen lips, face, tongue, itchiness, fever that does not go away, swelling of the lymph nodes, trouble breathing, and dizziness.

Allergy to this medication can return even if you stop taking Azithromycin. If you have allergies, watch for any of the above symptoms for a few days after you have taken your last dose of Azithromycin.

This is not an exclusive and complete list of side effects, when you notice other side effects not listed above, let your nurse, doctor, or pharmacist know about them.

Azithromycin precautions

Prior to taking Azithromycin, inform your nurse, doctor, or pharmacist if you have allergies to it and any of its ingredients, or where you have allergies to clarithromycin, telithromycin, erythromycin, and other antibiotics. The medicine erythromycin can contain inactive ingredients that lead to some allergic reactions or other problems. Ask your doctor for more information regarding this.

Before you use Azithromycin, inform your nurse or physician about your medical history, particularly if you have had kidney disease, liver disease, or certain diseases of the muscle or myasthenia gravis.

Taking Azithromycin may result in a medical condition that impacts the heart rhythm or QT prolongation. QT prolongation can rarely lead to any fatal symptoms as irregular heartbeat, fainting, dizziness, or anything that will need emergency medical attention.

The susceptibility to QT prolongation can be aggravated if you have some medical history or condition or are taking some other medications that can lead to QT prolongation. Before you use Azithromycin, let your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist know all the medicines you were taking and if you have any conditions like a heart condition, slow heartbeat, or a family history of heart problems, including QT prolongation or sudden cardiac death.

Having low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood can likewise increase your risk of QT prolongation. This health risk may increase if you use certain medicines like diuretics or those known as water pills. Or where you have conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhoea, or vomiting. Ask your healthcare provider about using azithromycin safely and effectively.

Azithromycin can lead to live bacterial vaccines like typhoid vaccine and it does not work very well. Do not have any vaccinations while using this medicine unless your doctor advises you to do so.

Before you have any surgery, inform your nurse, doctor, or dental healthcare provider about all the medicines you take including drugs, prescription or non-prescription as well as herbal products or supplements.

Elderly patients can be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication, especially the QT prolongation.

During pregnancy, Azithromycin drug can be used only when needed and prescribed by your doctor. Consult your doctor first and weigh the risks and benefits before starting any treatment with it.

Azithromycin passes into breast milk. Ask your doctor before breastfeeding.