Drugs & Medications

Azithromycin Uses, Side Effects, and Dosage

Azithromycin is an antibiotic drug which is used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections. The bacterial infections for which this medication is used are infections associated with lungs, ears, throat, sinuses, reproductive organs and skin infections. Azithromycin tablet is also used to treat Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).Azithromycin was first given approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the year 1991. As this medicine is used for treating bacterial infections, Azithromycin is effective in preventing the growth of bacteria. It should be considered as an important note that this medicine cannot be used to treat viral infections like the flu and common cold.Azithromycin is also avoidable for patients who have had a problem of jaundice or liver-related problems when they were given this medicine. This medication can also be used to prevent patients from chronic chest infections. This medicine can be used by women who are breastfeeding their babies. However, it is advisable to avoid the intake of this medicine for patients having a condition of heart-related diseases. As this medicine is not considered to be effective as a pain reliever and against viral infections, it should be thoroughly discussed with the physician beforehand. Antibiotic medicines such as Azithromycin tablet are prescribed by the efficient medical practitioners for treatments related to bacterial infections. These antibiotics are generally not considered effective in fighting against viruses which can harm the normal functioning of the A physician or doctor should be consulted beforehand whether the infection is bacterial or viral to get effective treatment for the same. Viruses mostly affect the upper respiratory tract infections like coughing, common cold, and flu. Antibiotics like Azithromycin are not effective in working against these viruses. It is a fast-acting antibiotic and starts working within a few hours of intake. It is easy to consume and is an oral medication. There are chances of the bacteria becoming resistant if these medications are overused or are used incorrectly. An extensive range of infections can be treated by broad-spectrum antibiotics like Azithromycin. Some antibiotic medicines attack aerobic bacteria, while others effectively work against anaerobic bacteria. In some cases, the best healthcare professional may recommend antibiotics to stop rather than treat an infection, as might be the case before any surgical procedure. The antibiotic medicines also include pills patients swallow and intravenous options that enter the skin via IV mode of injecting the medication. These antibiotics help in slowing down the growth of certain diseases by killing many types of bacterial infections. 

This article gives detailed information about the following aspects of Azithromycin:

  • What is Azithromycin?
  • Why is Azithromycin tablet prescribed?
  • Uses of Azithromycin
  • How should Azithromycin be consumed?
  • What are the side effects of Azithromycin?
  • How does Azithromycin work?
  • Contraindications of Azithromycin
  • Dosage of Azithromycin
  • Frequently Asked Questions related to Azithromycin Tablets

What is Azithromycin tablet? 

Azithromycin tablet comes from a group of macrolide antibiotic with bacteriostatic activity against several Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.

Why is Azithromycin prescribed?

Azithromycin is used to fight a wide range of bacteria, which includes many in the Streptococcus family. It is a genus of spherical bacteria that belongs to a group of Streptococcaceae. The appearance of this bacteria looks like a twisted group of round berries. It can stop the growth of harmful bacteria. Medical conditions caused by these bacteria include scarlet fever, strep throat, rheumatic fever, glomerulonephritis, and streptococcus pneumonia. A comprehensive range of healthcare facilitators tends to use this drug to treat mild-to-moderate infections related to the sinuses, lungs, skin and other parts of the body. Azithromycin tablets are prescribed in the treatment of the following bacterial infections:

  • Sinusitis infections or inflammations associated with Streptococcus pneumonia and Moraxella catarrhalis
  • Community-acquired pneumonia associated with Haemophilusinfluenzae and Chlamydia pneumonia
  • Complex conditions related to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Dermatological diseases related to Streptococcus pyogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus
  • Tonsillitis associated with Streptococcus pyogenes, which is an irregular but generally pathogenic, an important part of skin bacteria
  • Treatment of urethra inflammation and cervicitis inflammation related to Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Red-colored, painful bumps chancroid genital ulcers (in men) related to Haemophilusducreyi
  • Ear infections related to M. catarrhalis experienced mostly by children falling in the age group between 6 months and above.

Uses of Azithromycin:

Azithromycin is usually recommended to treat mild-to-moderate bacterial infections caused by vulnerable bacteria occurring on the skin, in the ears, in the lungs and some other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). This antibiotic can also be used purposely for the treatment and prevention of Mycobacterium Avium. Mycobacterium Avium is considered to be a type of respiratory infection in patients diagnosed with advanced HIV. The medicine can also be helpful along with other antibiotic drugs for the treatment of various bacterial infections. Azithromycin also actively works against a wide array of microorganisms and shows good infiltration into human tissue. Azithromycin tablets are used for the treatment related to bacterial infections in patients who are intolerant of penicillins. Other effective uses of Azithromycin tablets are:

  • Skin allergies: Medical specialists widely prescribed Azithromycin antibiotics for treating skin infections and the ones that may severely affect soft tissues in the patients. With the help of appropriate dosage, skin infections can be treated with the highest success rates. 
  • Community-acquired pneumonia: Azithromycin tablet plays an important role in the treatments related to pneumonia especially community-acquired pneumonia diseases. Symptoms of this condition may include cough, fever along with chills combined with breathlessness are treated efficiently with the use of Azithromycin tablets. 
  • Pharyngitis and Tonsilitis: Throat infections caused because of the bacteria are treated with the administration of Azithromycin medicine in prescribed medications. 
  • Bacterial Conjunctivitis: Azithromycin is useful in treating bacterial conjunctivitis or eye flu with the usage of its eye drops. This medication is useful in treating an eye infection at a significant success rate. The dosage needs to be confirmed with the physician to stop side effects of this antibiotic.
  • Acne Vulgaris: Acne Vulgaris is a condition which mostly affects adolescents. Along with certain other medicines, Azithromycin gel plays an important role in the successful cure of such skin-related disorders. The blackheads and scarring of the skin which are the common features of Acne Vulgaris are treated with the right dosage of this medication gel. You need to make sure that Azithromycin gel is safely applied to cure the skin condition.
  • Hearing aid: Ear infections such as Otitis Media are treated efficiently with tablets of Azithromycin. In this condition, there is a notable impact on the functioning of the middle ear. Therefore symptoms like ear pain with ringing effect in the ears are treated with the appropriate dosage.
  • Cat Scratch Disease: Cat Scratch Disease takes place when someone is affected by a bacterium called Bartonellahenselae. This bacterium usually occurs due to a cat scratch or cat bite. Azithromycin tablet helps to reduce swelling of the lymph nodes, which takes place in patients after the bite of a cat.

How should Azithromycin be consumed?

This tablet should only be consumed as directed by an efficient physician. It should not be consumed beyond the prescribed dosage and should be avoided consuming more often to avoid the occurrence of any severe harm. Patient information leaflet on the medicine provides basic information regarding the composition and precaution-related measures. The instructions should be carefully read and followed by the patient. Azithromycin tablets can be taken with or without a meal as prescribed the doctor. In cases of Azithromycin syrup or suspension, the bottle of the medicine should be shaken well before each use. The reason for the same is that when any liquid solution is kept at rest for a long time, the heavier particles of the solution settle at the bottom. In case of consumption of Azithromycin syrup, the dose should be measured safely with a measuring spoon, medicine cup or an oral syringe. Measuring the medicine with an average household teaspoon should be avoided as usually, it does not hold the right amount of liquid.

What are the side effects of Azithromycin?

Like all other antibiotics and medicines, Azithromycin tablets and Azithromycin syrup also pose certain side effects which can be cured by medical help. Patients should seek medical assistance if they notice signs of allergic reactions such as swelling in the throat, face or hives. Side effects of Azithromycin also include severe skin reactions like skin pain, burning sensation in eyes, peeling, and red or purple skin rash. Patients should consult their doctors if they experience a severe medicinal reaction that may affect different parts of the body. The possible symptoms of side effects of Azithromycin tablets are swollen glands, unexplained bruising, skin rash, severe weakness, fatigue and fever.

Common Side Effects of Azithromycin are:

  • Diarrhea: Diarrhea takes place due to an increased frequency of bowel movements and changes in the consistency of the stool. Patients who have consumed Azithromycin tablet may experience mild to moderate abdominal cramps and a low-grade fever.
  • Nausea: Nausea and vomiting can be defined as a disturbance in the stomach which is controlled by the same parts of the brain that are responsible for controlling involuntary bodily functions. The patient may feel nauseous after taking Azithromycin.
  • Tiredness: Patients are expected to feel tired after consuming Azithromycin. Tiredness is usually considered to be a common side effect of Azithromycin.
  • Headache: Patients may also develop headaches due to Azithromycin. This side effect usually settles after some time or duration of the medicine.
  • Dry and Scaly Skin: Consumption of Azithromycin tablet may also lead to unnecessary changes in skin texture.
  • Hearing disorder: Hearing disorder has also been remarkably observed in some patients. The symptoms may include ringing in the ears and problems.

Patients should inform their doctor right away if any of the above unlikely but severe side effects of Azithromycin occur: hearing aid (like decreased hearing, deafness), difficulty speaking/swallowing, muscle weakness, eye-related issues (like baggy eyelids, hazy vision), signs of liver problems (such as unusual tiredness, persistent nausea/vomiting, severe stomach ache, pale eyes/skin, dark urine). Medical assistance should also be taken into consideration right away if the patient may experience fast/irregular heartbeat, severe faintness, and dizziness. Azithromycin tablets rarely lead to severe intestinal problems (like Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea) because of a resistant bacterium. There are chances that these rare side effects may show during or after discontinuation of treatment. Opioid drugs or anti-diarrhea medicines should be avoided by the patients undergoing Azithromycin tablets if they are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms. This may worsen the impact of these symptoms. A physician or doctor should be consulted if patients at any point of time develop symptoms like the presence of mucus in stool, severe abdominal cramps and persistent diarrhea. Consumption of Azithromycin tablet for lengthened or repeated periods may lead to oral thrush or a newly developed yeast infection. In the case of white patches in the mouth, women may notice a change in vaginal discharge. A severe allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, the patient should immediately consult his or her doctor if they notice any symptoms of skin allergies, persistent fever, and rashes, itching/swelling of the face, tongue, throat, severe dizziness and breathlessness. 

How does Azithromycin work?

Azithromycin tablets belong to a group of drugs known as macrolide antibiotics. They work by preventing bacteria from making their proteins. Azithromycin works by eliminating the production of proteins by the bacteria which are essential to them. In the absence of these proteins, the effective growth of bacteria does not take place, replicate or increase in numbers. The bacteria in due course of the intake of the medicine become inactive and are unable to affect the immune system. Thus, the infection gets healed in the patient. Azithromycin is an antibiotic drug which is helpful in clearing up infections caused by a comprehensive variety of bacteria. The popular brand names of Azithromycin include Clamelle and Zithromax. It is considered highly suitable for children and adults falling the age group between six months and older as per the medical experts. It is advisable that the intake of medicine, once started should be completed as directed by the physician. The dosage of this medication is usually prescribed to be taken once a day. The medicine should be taken at the same time every day for positive outcomes. A patient doesn’t need to consume this medicine an hour before a meal or two hours after the meal. Consumption of certain indigestion medicines should be avoided one to two hours before or after consuming Azithromycin. This medication is used efficiently to completely treat bacterial infections. It is essential to note that the antibiotic needs to be used competently only in cases where the cause of the infection is caused by bacteria.

What are the potential warnings associated with Azithromycin? 

The patient should briefly inform his or her doctor beforehand if the symptoms do not start getting better or if they get worse. Medical conditions like diarrhea should not be treated with over the counter drugs. If diarrhea lasts for more than two or more days, the patient should take the help of a medical practitioner. Consuming Azithromycin tablets makes the patient sensitive to the sunlight. It is advisable for patients to avoid direct contact with sunlight. If the patient cannot avoid being in the sun, he or she should carry protective clothing and use sunscreen. 

Azithromycin for Chronic Bronchitis:

Chronic bronchitis is a comparatively common entity among patients experiencing chronic obstructive lung disease. Typical treatment includes pulmonary hygiene, bronchodilators, and antimicrobial therapy. This review summarizes the data on the use of the drug Azithromycin for this particular patient population with a focus on 3-day and single-day therapy.

Azithromycin and Milk:

Consumption of milk or dairy should be avoided while consuming Azithromycin tablets. It has been reported that the calcium components present in milk may bind with the antibiotic. This may also prevent gut absorption. 

Azithromycin and Alcohol:

Usually, drinking alcohol excessively should be avoided by patients who are already fighting a severe infection. Consumption of alcohol while taking Azithromycin tablet may lead to sleep disorders, water retention. It may also disrupt the body’s natural ability to heal itself. However, no known interactions have been observed between Azithromycin tablets and alcohol.

Contraindications of Azithromycin:

Patients consuming Azithromycin need to make sure that they do not intake the medicine in the following cases. Patients must consult their physician before starting this drug:

  • Liver damage: If the patient has a history of cholestatic jaundice or hepatic impairment, then there is a high probability of the worsening of the condition with the consumption of Azithromycin tablet. Patients with such medical conditions are not advised to consume this medicine.
  • Sensitivity: If patients have certain side effects from Azithromycin or its components, then he or she should talk to the doctor before taking this antibiotic medicine. The physician might recommend a substitute for the patient if the respective treatment requires it.

Interactions of Azithromycin with Other Medications and Medical Conditions:

Azithromycin antibiotic medicine sometimes reacts with other medicines like Pimozide, Atorvastatin and Amiodarone. The effects are visible in the patients. Drug interactions may also occur with medicines such as Digoxin and Theophylline with Azithromycin. Timely opting for medical examination and evaluation are considered beneficial for the patient in the form of diagnosis and treatment. 

Dosage of Azithromycin:

  • Missed Dose: Sometimes it happens that due to some reasons the patient might miss taking the medicine. If at some point in time a patient has missed his or her dosage, then should consume Azithromycin as early as possible. Azithromycin injections are administered only under the supervision of a proficient healthcare practitioner in the hospital. 
  • Overdose: If someone has over-consumed Azithromycin medicine, doctor or physician should be contacted immediately to avoid any mishap to occur. Medical treatment is given to the patient in case of an emergency.

How should Azithromycin be stored?

The best method of storing Azithromycin tablets is to store the injection vials below 86°F (30°C). Once the injection powder in the vial forms again with sterile water and diluted, it is constant 24 hours at or below 86°F (30°C), or for a week if refrigerated at 41°F (5°C). Azithromycin dry powder for oral suspension should be stored below 86°F (30°C) in a tightly-closed container. This medicine or oral suspension should not be frozen. After mixing, store Azithromycin oral suspension should be stored at 41°F to 86°F (5°C to 30°C). Azithromycin tablets should be stored at a temperature ranging between 59°F and 86°F (15°C to 30°C). Azithromycin tablets should not be used if the original seal over the container opening is tempered or missing. It is advisable to destroy the medicine that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). The guidelines directed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should be followed on how to safely dispose of unused medicine. Antibiotic medicines like Azithromycin tablets should be kept out of reach of children.

FAQs related to Azithromycin Tablets:

Q. 1 When does the effect of Azithromycin tablet occur?

A: The body starts responding to the Azithromycin tablet after 2 to 3 hours of intake of the medication as per the recommended medicine dosage. 

Q. 2 For how long is the effect of Azithromycin stays in the patient?

A: After consuming Azithromycin, the effect of the antibiotic tablet can be seen in patients for a time ranging from 2 to 4 days.

Q. 3 How strong is Azithromycin tablet?

A: Azithromycin tablets are helpful in fighting and working against bacterial infections better. The same is not considered to be effective for viral infections like cold, cough or flu.

Q. 4 Is Azithromycin for a pregnant woman?

A: Azithromycin tablets are considered safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Efficient medical practitioners recommend a thorough medical examination before consuming Azithromycin tablet during pregnancy. It has also been observed that breastfeeding infants sometimes develop diarrhea. This article concludes the effective response of Azithromycin tablets. A study conducted on the increasing sales of Azithromycin medicine reveals that sales of Azithromycin antibiotic would continue to deliver commendable gains across the gonorrhea treatment market. This growth is effectively trailed by the third-generation cephalosporin drugs which are also gaining high-end purchases. As per this assessment of Azithromycin tablets, the rate of sales concerned with the treatment of gonorrhea is likely to gain 50 percent market shares. There are various countries which have worked to raise the doses of the suggested gonorrhea medicines with the aim of overcoming the bacteria’s resistance. If taken in appropriate measures, researchers believe that antibiotics can ward off certain diseases or bacterial infections. These powerful drugs like Azithromycin effectively and speedily help in eliminating the infections caused by bacteria. Apart from these benefits, it is also being told that if used more frequently, the body may become resistant to the medicine and may wipe out the effectiveness of the antibiotic. Therefore, the consumption of this antibiotic should be made as and when directed by an experienced and certified medical professional. The benefits and limitations of the medicines should be thoroughly discussed with a medical expert to avoid any harm to take place after consuming the medication.

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