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Azithromycin 500mg: A Popular Antibiotic for Treating Infections

An antibiotic called Azithromycin (Zithromax) can be used to treat some bacterial infections. While typically safe to use while nursing, this medication should be avoided by those who already have heart issues.

The macrolides family of antibiotics includes azithromycin. Azithromycin was initially authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991.

Like all antibiotics, azithromycin is only effective against particular bacteria. For this reason, it is essential to get medical advice before using the medicine. It is inefficient against viral infections and is a pain reliever.

An overview of azithromycin is given in this article, along with information on its applications, risks, precautions, and related medications.

Azithromycin is used to treat what?

Many members of the Streptococcus family of bacteria are susceptible to the antibiotic azithromycin. It can halt the development of dangerous microorganisms.

This medication is frequently prescribed by medical professionals to treat minor to moderate infections of the skin, sinuses, lungs, and other regions of the body.

The following bacterial illnesses may be treated with azithromycin, per a doctor’s prescription:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) complications caused by M. catarrhalis 
  • S. pneumoniae sinus infections caused by Moraxella catarrhalis 
  • Chlamydia pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and other pathogens can cause Streptococcus pneumoniae community-acquired pneumonia.
  • S. pneumoniae some skin infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptoc
  • Some ear infections in children aged 6 months and older, such as those caused by M. catarrhalis, 
  • Chancroid genital ulcers (in males), urethritis, and cervicitis caused by Chlamydia trachomatis

Methods of intake

A prescribed drug is azithromycin. People shouldn’t use it without a prescription as a result.

The medication comes in tablet, oral suspension solution, ocular drop, and injection forms. Depending on the infection a person has, the optimal type and dosage will vary.

You can take the drug with or without food. Before using, they should give the liquid form a good shake.

Common dosages include, for example:

  • Community-acquired pneumonia tonsillitis skin infections are treated with an initial dose of 500 milligrams (mg) followed by 250 mg once daily until day 5.
  • Mild-to-moderate bacterial COPD exacerbations are treated with 500 mg once daily for 3 days OR 500 mg initially, then 250 mg once daily till day 5.
  • Sinus infections are treated for 3 days at 500 mg per day.
  • Chancroid genital ulcers are treated with a single 1 gramme dosage (g).
  • Urethritis cervicitis is treated with a single 1 g dosage.
  • Gonococcal urethritis cervicitis is treated with a single 2 g dosage.

When medicines are administered wrongly, drug-resistant strains of bacteria might grow, rendering treatments ineffective against them. Antibiotic resistance is the word for this situation.

People should take the following precautions when taking azithromycin or any other antibiotic:

  • Continue taking the full course of antibiotics that your doctor has advised, even if you start to feel better.
  • It’s not advisable to take antibiotics without a prescription. Not all bacteria can be treated by antibiotics.
  • Never trade antibiotics.
  • Refrain from taking antibiotics more frequently than your doctor has prescribed.
  • If adverse symptoms appear, consult a physician right away.
  • See the emergency room if you have breathing issues as one of the signs of an allergic reaction.

What negative impacts are there?

Like many medications, azithromycin has potential negative effects. Usually, they are not major. Just 0.7% of participants in clinical studies discontinued taking Zithromax as a result of side effects.

Most of the gastrointestinal side effects that led people to stop using the medicine are as follows:

  • Nausea, 
  • Vomiting,
  • And diarrhoea abdominal discomfort

The following less frequent side effects, which can happen in 1% of cases:

  • Chest discomfort or palpitations
  • Acid reflux headache dizziness fatigue

A rash, dry skin, sun sensitivity, and vaginitis

Despite their rarity, serious adverse effects can include:

  • Liver damage, especially in those who have a history of issues with their liver health
  • Significant allergic responses, which are more prevalent in the elderly, 
  • Those with low blood potassium levels, 
  • And those who take heart rhythm drugs

What do the studies reveal?

A sizable cohort study from 2012 discovered a slight rise in the risk of cardiovascular death in azithromycin users. The risk was higher in people who also had other heart diseases risk factors, like smoking, inactivity, and a high body mass index (BMI).

According to the study, for every million prescriptions of azithromycin, there were 47 more cardiovascular fatalities than there were for amoxicillin. Per million courses of azithromycin, there were 245 extra fatalities among those with the highest risk of heart disease.

This implies that alternative antibiotics, including amoxicillin, maybe a safer choice for those who have heart problems or particular kinds of heart arrhythmias.

The FDA issued a warning in 2018Trusted Source on the prolonged use of azithromycin in patients receiving stem cell transplants for specific blood or lymph node malignancies. Recent studies have revealed that azithromycin may make these people more susceptible to cancer relapse.

Some people take azithromycin after a stem cell transplant to lower their risk of developing the inflammatory lung disease bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome. However, the FDA has not authorized azithromycin for this usage.

Azithromycin can sometimes induce liver damage. If a person experiences any liver-related symptoms, such as black urine, itching, or yellow eyes, they should stop taking the medication and contact their doctor.

Azithromycin may contribute to a hazardous disease known as infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis in neonates less than 42 days old. If a baby becomes agitated or throws up while feeding, carers should see a doctor.

Substance interactions

A person’s other drugs and azithromycin may interact.

For instance, using azithromycin along with the HIV medication nelfinavir can raise the risk of hearing issues and abnormalities in the liver.

Warfarin and other blood thinners’ effects may be exacerbated by azithromycin.

The following medicines may interact with azithromycin:

  • Digoxin is a cardiac drug.
  • A gout drug called colchicine
  • Magnesium- or aluminum-containing antacids, the seizure drug phenytoin

When using azithromycin, a patient should inform their doctor of any existing drugs, supplements, and treatments.

Never stop taking drugs without first consulting a doctor.

Breastfeeding and becoming pregnant

It’s possible that azithromycin is safe to take while nursing and while pregnant.

There is no increased risk of miscarriage or birth abnormalities, according to studies done on animals given very high doses of azithromycin.

It should only be taken during pregnancy if obviously necessary, according to the medicine label, as there have been no high-quality trials in pregnant humans.

For up to 48 hours after the last dose, it may still be present in breast milk. It is typically safe to use while nursing, although in some infants, it may result in vomiting, diarrhea, or a rash.

Before using azithromycin, a person should inform a doctor if they are pregnant, think they could be pregnant, or are nursing a baby. Call a doctor for guidance if a breastfeeding infant experiences side effects while the parent is taking it.


It comes in both a generic and brand name version (Zithromax), with the brand name version usually costing more. But, a person’s insurance coverage, deductibles, and geography may all affect the cost, as well as the drugstore.


Many bacterial infections can be treated with azithromycin, an antibiotic. Moreover, it can stop these illnesses from spreading or worsening.

It is crucial to only take antibiotics under a doctor’s supervision because they all include certain hazards.

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