ZITHROMAX (Azithromycin)
ZITHROMAX (Azithromycin)
ZITHROMAX (Azithromycin)
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ZITHROMAX (Azithromycin)

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What is this medication?

Azithromycin, Zithromax
Antibiotic, Macrolide

Azithromycin, Zithromax is used on or off label for various infections depending on your common local bacterial strains for various infections and based on local resistance patterns.  Not all antibiotics work for all infections and efficacy can vary from area to area and vary with time.  It is common in North America for use in COPD exacerbations, various forms of infectious diarrhea, pneumonia, and some sexually transmitted infections.

How does this medication work?

Azithromycin/Zithromax binds to the 50S ribosomal subunit which blocks transpeptidation thereby inhibiting RNA-dependent protein synthesis during the amino acid chain elongation step.  Without being able to produce proteins the cell eventually breaks down and dies.

How should I take this medication?

250-2000mg once a day depending on the condition it is used for.  It is common for this medication to have a loading dosage.  This means the first dose may be higher than subsequent dosages.  Many conditions will also use single dosage treatments hence the large variation in daily dosage.

How to Take: Follow instructions provided by physician/pharmacy label, take consistently at same time each day with or without food unless otherwise directed, store at room temperature.  If gastrointestinal side effects are problematic, taking with food may help reduce them.

You Need to Avoid: Avoid antacids or supplements containing aluminum or magnesium as they may alter absorption and decrease efficacy.

What should I watch for while using this medication?

Before starting Azithromycin/Zithromax make sure your physician is aware of any allergies or medications you currently take,  if you have liver disease, kidney disease, myasthenia gravis, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding.

Azithromycin can cause QT prolongation which can result in severe cardiac arrhythmia so caution should be taken especially if other QT prolonging agents are being taken.  It is also broad spectrum (kills many kinds of bacteria) which means it can increase risk of opportunistic superinfection such as C. difficile associated diarrhea.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of medication, try to take it as soon as possible.  However, if it is almost time for your next dose, take only that scheduled dose.  Do not take double or extra doses.

How should I store this medication?

Keep out of the reach of children at all times.  Store at room temperature, 59 to 86° F (15 to 30° C).  Protect from light.  Keep the container tightly closed.  Properly dispose of any unused medication after the expiration date.

What are the possible side effects of using this medication?

Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain    

Note this is not a complete list of side effects, only common ones with diarrhea being the most common.  Most side effects are dose dependent so higher dosages yield more likely side effects.