Zithromax is a macrolide antibiotic to treat infections of upper and low respiratory tract, especially ear infections, pneumonia.
Zithromax is an antibiotic that belongs to the group of drugs classified as macrolides. This medication contains active ingredient azithromycin and it is prescribed for the treatment of a range of bacterial infections. Zithromax achieves its effect by stopping the growth of bacteria that causes the development of infection in the body.
What are the indications for using Zithromax?
Zithromax has a range of indications and only a medical professional can determine whether this medication is right for your particular health problem. The first thing to note about Zithromax is that it is not used in the treatment of viral infections, such as flu or cold. You should not consume this drug to treat viral infections, as it’s not only ineffective but can also cause resistance to antibiotics over time.
Some of the bacterial infections that can be treated with the help of Zithromax include the following:
- Bacterial infections of the skin
- Bacterial sinusitis
- Bacterial throat infections (tonsillitis, pharyngitis)
- Genital ulcer disease
- Bacterial ear infection (otitis media)
- Acute pelvic inflammatory disease
- Sexually transmitted diseases (chlamydia)
- MAC infection prevention (in people with HIV)
In some cases, Zithromax is also used to overcome such conditions:
- Certain gastrointestinal infections
- Legionnaires’ disease
- Helicobacter pylori infection
- Cat scratch disease
There are more additional uses for Zithromax and they have to always be determined by your medical specialist. If you have been prescribed this drug to treat any of these conditions, make sure that you take as many dosages as required. You should continue the treatment for as long as prescribed even if your symptoms disappear. This ensures that your bacterial infection is treated fully and bacteria won’t continue growing.
Dosage of Zithromax and how to take it
Similarly to other drugs, the exact dosage of Zithromax should be determined by your doctor based on your bacterial infection and its severity. This medication can be consumed by adults and children over the age of 6 months. When it comes to children, they should be prescribed an oral suspension of Zithromax and a dosage is selected according to a child’s weight.
Zithromax can be purchased in three forms:
- oral suspension
- extended-release oral suspension
Tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. Do not chew or crush tablets before swallowing as this can affect their absorption.
To measure out the right amount of oral suspension, you should use a syringe that comes with this drug. Both tablets and oral suspension can be consumed with or without food. When it comes to the extended-release suspension, it’s usually prescribed to be taken an hour before a meal as a single dose. Both types of suspension should be shaken well before you measure out the right amount.
You may be prescribed Zithromax is a powder form. In this case, you need to mix the contents of a packet with water as directed on the packaging. You should consume this type of suspension right after its preparation.
Depending on the infection, the treatment using Zithromax can be administered as a single dosage, as a dose once a week, or once a day for 2 to 5 days. The standard treatment of Chlamydia involves taking two 500 mg tablets of Zithromax simultaneously one time. To prevent MAC infection in patients with HIV, the usual approach is to take this drug once a week.
To make sure that you remember to take this drug, it is recommended to consume it around the same time every day.
Precautions and contraindications
Some health conditions can be worsened with the consumption of this drug. Before taking Zithromax, you need to inform a medical specialist about any health problems you may have, such as:
- Cardiovascular problems
- Kidney and liver problems
- Muscle weakness or myasthenia gravis
- Decreased levels of magnesium in the blood
- Cystic fibrosis
- Low potassium levels
- Previous cases of jaundice (either as a result of liver problems or the use of drugs)
- Any blood infection
- Family history of long QT syndrome (a condition related to irregular heartbeat)
If you suffer from any allergies to drugs or have intolerances, you should tell your medical specialist. If you are allergic to antibiotics in ketolide or macrolide groups or any ingredients present in Zithromax, you should not use this drug. If you notice any allergic symptoms after taking Zithromax (itching, rash, swelling in any body parts, difficulty breathing, or more), you should get medical help immediately.
You should also inform your doctor if you breastfeed or are pregnant. If you get pregnant while taking Zithromax, tell your medical advisor immediately.
Consumption of Zithromax makes your skin more sensitive to the sun. You should avoid excessive sun exposure or tanning beds, as you can get a sunburn. If you need to spend time outdoors, wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and protect your skin with clothes.
Do not share your prescription drug with any other people. Also, you should avoid using this drug for any other health issues unless otherwise recommended by your doctor.
Drug interactions to avoid
Another important precaution to keep in mind is drug interactions. If you take any drugs, herbal remedies, vitamins, or supplements, you should provide your doctor with a list of all products before you start taking Zithromax. The reason is that the simultaneous consumption of certain drugs can cause dangerous interactions and side effects.
Some drugs that can interact with Zithromax include the following:
- Drugs used to treat arrhythmia (ibutilide, disopyramide, etc.)
- Drugs containing magnesium
- Certain antidepressants (sertraline, fluoxetine, etc.)
- Antibiotics in a class of Fluoroquinolones (moxifloxacin, ciprofloxacin, etc.)
- Anticoagulants (warfarin)
- Drugs for allergies (astemizole, terfenadine, etc.)
- Drugs for irregular heartbeat (amiodarone)
- Certain drugs for psychotic episodes (quetiapine, haloperidol, risperidone)
This is not a complete list of medications that can interfere with Zithromax, so you should always discuss all drugs that you take with your medical advisor. In some cases, these drugs can be completely incompatible while in others you may just need to adjust the dosage or take medications at different times.
What are the potential side effects of Zithromax?
Side effects of taking Zithromax can be mild and serious.
Allergic reactions to this drug belong to serious side effects and require immediate medical help, so you should never hesitate if you notice such symptoms after taking Zithromax:
- Allergic rash and itchy skin
- Swelling in the lips, tongue, throat, face, or any other body parts
- Problems with breathing
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
Other serious and rare adverse reactions to Zithromax include:
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
- Chest pain
- Severe diarrhea, especially with blood or mucus
- Blood in the urine or its dark color
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Mouth ulcers
- Abnormal psychological reactions, such as intense anxiety, agitation
- Fever or chills
- Severe stomach pain
- Irregular or fast heartbeat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Any abnormal skin reactions (easy bruising, decreased skin sensitivity, rash, etc.)
If you experience such serious side effects, you need to get medical help immediately.
Most people who follow precautions and don’t overdose on Zithromax don’t get severe side effects. Certain mild side effects and individual reactions to this drug are still possible and require you to consult a medical specialist.
Such symptoms can include:
- Aches in joints and muscles
- Changed sense of smell and taste
- Mild nausea and any digestion related issues
- Vaginal thrush (itchiness, discharge)
- Oral thrush
- Ringing in the ears
If you experience mild side effects, it’s possible that you have individual intolerance to Zithromax or you may require a lower dosage. Consult your doctor before taking another dose of this drug to get further instructions.
How should Zithromax be stored?
Proper storage of drugs ensures their high-quality and prevents dangerous side effects from them being negatively affected. To ensure the best storage conditions, keep your drug in its original packaging at 86°F (30°C) degrees or below. The medication should be stored in a dry place away from the sources of heat and moisture. Make sure that the drug is kept out of reach of children and pets.
If you use an extended-release suspension, it should not be frozen or refrigerated. Also, make sure that you throw away any suspension that is left after a period of 10 days. If you have prepared your extended-release suspension, it can only be used within 12 hours. Do not consume this drug after its expiration date or if the tablets look suspicious (any changes in their color, shape, smell, etc.).
Zithromax: Popular Questions
- What should I do if I missed my dosage?
If it’s almost time for you to take the next dosage, you should simply skip the one you missed and continue taking this drug as prescribed. If not, then you should take the drug once you remember. Never take two doses at the same time to compensate for the missed one. If you have any questions, always consult your doctor.
- What should I do if I overdose on Zithromax?
If you accidentally take a higher dosage than necessary and experience adverse reactions (nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.) you should not hesitate and seek urgent medical care.
- What should I do if I notice side effects?
If your side effects are mild, contact your doctor so that they can adjust the dosage or change the drug. If your adverse effects are severe or you get an allergic reaction, call urgent medical care.
- What should I do if I take other drugs?
To avoid potential drug interactions, always provide your doctor with the full list of medications that you take. Do not start taking Zithromax without consulting a medical specialist first.
- Can I stop taking this drug before the recommended date if I feel better?
No. If you don’t experience side effects, you should finish the recommended prescription because it’s possible that your bacterial infection doesn’t get fully treated if you stop.
- Do I need to follow a certain diet while taking this drug?
In most cases, the diet should not be changed unless otherwise recommended by your doctor.
- Which dosages of Zithromax tablets are available?
Depending on your prescription, you can buy Zithromax 250 mg or 500 mg tablets.
- What is the recommended dose of Zithromax to treat chlamydia?
1 gram of Zithromax taken as a single dosage is generally prescribed and is enough to treat chlamydia. In some cases, this drug is combined with other antibiotics.
- How long does it take to cure chlamydia with Zithromax?
If you follow the recommended guidelines on how to take Zithromax, this infection should be treated in one to two weeks.
- Is Zithromax addictive?
No, this drug doesn’t cause an addiction.
- Does Zithromax affect the ability to operate machinery or drive a car?
If you don’t experience side effects, Zithromax doesn’t affect your alertness and ability to drive or operate machinery.
- How should I dispose of a left-over medication?
The best way to get rid of expired drugs is with the help of a take-back program. You can read FDA guidelines on the safe disposal of drugs or learn more from your doctor.
- When should I take Zithromax during the day?
The time of the day doesn’t matter but it is best to take this drug at the same time every day so that you don’t forget.
Disclaimer: All the information presented in this article is provided for reference only. You should always consult a medical specialist before starting to use Zithromax to avoid any potential drug interactions and side effects.