Doctors regularly prescribe azithromycin to treat bacterial infections. It belongs to a group of antibiotics that stop bacteria from growing in your body.
Infections that may be treated with azithromycin include bronchitis, pneumonia, sexually transmitted diseases and infections of the ears, sinuses, lungs, throat and reproductive organs. This medication is not used to treat viral infections including the common cold and flu.
Azithromycin is marketed under the brand names AzaSite®, Zithromax® and Zmax®. Zithromax and Zmax are available in oral forms including tablet, liquid, capsule, powder or long-acting liquid. Follow your doctor's instructions about whether or not to take it with food. It helps to take this medication at approximately the same time each day so that you have a constant level in your body. AzaSite® is an ointment used in the eyes.
Continue taking all of your prescription until it runs out, even if you start to feel better sooner. If you stop too soon, the bacteria may continue to grow and the infection may return.
While you are taking azithromycin, check with your doctor first before taking any antacids. Antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium may cause certain types of azithromycin to be less effective.
Patients have reported side effects when taking azithromycin. Minor side effects may include an upset stomach, mild stomach pain, diarrhea, gas and vomiting. It may also cause a headache.
Call your doctor right away if you have more serious side effects, such as:
- Blistering or peeling skin or a red skin rash
- Chest pain or a fast or pounding heartbeat
- Double vision and muscle weakness
- A change in how much you urinate
- Dark-colored urine or pale stools
- Severe nausea, vomiting, loss of your appetite or pain in your upper stomach
- Yellowing of your skin or eyes
Also, contact your doctor if you notice itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your throat or mouth, trouble breathing or chest tightness. These may be signs of an allergic reaction.
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