Azithromycin: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Precautions, Price & More

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Azithromycin: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Precautions & More

What is Azithromycin?

Azithromycin is an antibiotic. Azithromycin belongs to the class of macrolide antibiotics which interfere with the synthesis of essential proteins in bacteria, causing complete cessation of bacterial growth.

Check out Hindi translation of this article - Azithromycin in Hindi
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Uses of Azithromycin

It is used to treat infections caused by bacteria, such as infection in tonsils, sinus, skin, infections of ear, nose, and throat, respiratory tract and lungs (pneumonia).

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Azithromycin Price in India

Specifics Azithromycin Price
500 mg Tablet Rs 22.90

How to Take Azithromycin?

Azithromycin usually comes in the form of tablets & suspensions (that can be taken by mouth, through eye drops, and injectable forms. Every possible formulation might not be listed here.

Azithromycin tablets/suspensions are usually taken by mouth with a glass of water as directed by your doctor, usually once daily with or without food. For best results, azithromycin must be taken at evenly spaced times.

Shake the suspension liquid well before use to mix the medication evenly. Use a measuring cup to consume the correct dosage of medicine.

Azithromycin eye-drops: One drop is put in the affected eye twice a day for the first 2 days, followed by one drop – once a day for the next 5 days.

The usage of azithromycin must be continued until the prescribed dosage is finished, even if your symptoms disappear.

It is always advised for the user to read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by the pharmacist and further queries must be solved with your doctor or pharmacist.


Common Dosage For Azithromycin

The drug dosage and form is decided by the physician based upon:

  • Age and body weight of the patient
  • Health status/medical condition of the patient
  • Disease severity
  • Reaction to the first dose
  • History of allergy/drug reactions
  • Tablets / Suspensions

Dosage For Adults: 500 mg / day for 3days.
(The physician may also prescribe 500 mg for the first day as a single dose, followed by 250mg/day for the next 4 days)

Dosage For Children: 5 mg to 20 mg/ day

(It is based on weight and is usually taken for 3 to 5 days)

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Precautions – When to Avoid Azithromycin?

Azithromycin doesn’t work in case of viral infections (such as flu, common cold)). Unnecessary use of antibiotic must be avoided because it decreases its efficacy.


Side-effects of Azithromycin?

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Upper stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Headache with Chest Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fast or pounding heartbeats
  • Fever
  • Sore-throat
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Jaundice
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Unusual muscle weakness
  • Difficulty with muscle control
  • Pink and swollen eyes
  • Prolonged use can lead to pseudomembranous colitis

Effects on organs?

Effects on the liver have been reported and include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Severe tiredness
  • Dark urine
  • Increased levels of liver enzymes

Kidney complications have also been reported and include:

  • Metallic taste
  • Nausea, Vomiting
  • Swelling
  • Tiredness
  • Changes in urine
  • Itching/rashes on the skin
  • Dizziness, shortness of breath
  • Pain in legs

Reported Allergic Reactions?

  • Rashes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swelling
  • Hoarseness
  • Photosensitivity

Drug Interactions To Be Careful About

  • All the possible drug interactions might not be listed here. It is always advised that the patient must inform the physician about all the drugs/products you use especially nelfinavir; or a blood thinner – warfarin, Coumadin.
  • You must inform your doctor if you are on QT – prolonging agents, quinidine/quinine.
  • Antacids that contain magnesium or aluminum generally are known to markedly reduce the absorption of azithromycin in the body. Therefore, it must be taken a minimum of 2 hours before/after taking azithromycin.
  • You must not take any immunizations or vaccinations while using azithromycin unless your doctor tells you to.
  • You must also inform about the herbal products that you are consuming.
  • You must not modify the drug regimen without your doctor’s approval
  • It is very unlikely for azithromycin to affect hormonal birth control such as pills, rings or patches

Shows Effects / Results In

You should start to feel recovered during the first few days of treatment with azithromycin.

A complete dose prescribed by your doctor must be taken for the complete cessation of infection from your body (even if the symptoms disappear)

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Storage Requirements for Azithromycin

Must store it in the refrigerator between 2°C to 8°C (before opening) and at room temperature or in the refrigerator between 2°C to 25°C (after opening)


Pro Tips When Taking Azithromycin

  • Always inform your doctor if you are allergic to azithromycin, clarithromycin, dirithromycin, erythromycin or any other ingredients in azithromycin tablets or suspension.
  • Always inform your doctor if you have ever had jaundice or any other liver problems while taking azithromycin or if there is a history of liver/kidney disease
  • Always inform your doctor if you or anyone in your family has a history of irregular heartbeat, heart failure, fainting, or sudden death or a blood infection; cystic fibrosis; myasthenia gravis, kidney or liver disease.
  • If vomiting happens within an hour after taking azithromycin, call your doctor right away.

FAQs

Is Azithromycin Addictive?

No

Can I have Azithromycin with alcohol?

Alcohol can cause liver damage temporarily and that might increase the side effects of Azithromycin. Also, the chances of having side effects increases when consumed with alcohol because of dehydrating nature of alcohol on your body.

Any particular food item to be avoided?

No

Can I have Azithromycin When Pregnant?

Macrolide antibiotics, as a group, are generally safe in pregnancy. There are very few published research papers on the use of azithromycin in human pregnancy however till now, research has not indicated any harmful effects of azithromycin in pregnancy. Since there are no well-controlled studies done on the effects of azithromycin in pregnant women, Azithromycin should be used during pregnancy only if your doctor advises it.

Can I have Azithromycin when feeding a baby?

  • Always inform your doctor if you are breastfeeding your child.
  • There is evidence that azithromycin might be excreted in human breast milk.

Can I drive after taking Azithromycin?

Some studies suggest that Azithromycin could lead to impaired driving ability in few people, especially females who are more than 60 years of age and have been on the drug for more than 2-5 years and have been on an anti-depressant, anti-hypertensive drugs too.

What happens if I overdose on Azithromycin?

An overdose of Azithromycin might cause irregular heart rhythm or liver damage. If you have taken an overdose, it is advisable to contact your consulting physician immediately.

What happens if I eat expired Azithromycin?

The antibiotic may not work as well. Please inform your physician regarding the same.

What happens if I miss a dose of Azithromycin?

  • The medicine may not work well if you miss a dose because, for effective working of the drug, a certain amount of drug must be present in your body at all times.
  • Always consume the missed dose as soon as you remember it. But, if it’s already time to take the second dose after that – do not take a double dose.

When Was Azithromycin Made?

Azithromycin was first discovered in the late 1970s by a Croatian pharmaceutical company, Pliva.


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