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Azithromycin Diarrhea

azithromycin diarrhea


It is very important that your doctor check the progress of you or your child at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

If you or your child's symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This medicine may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you or your child have a rash; itching; hives; hoarseness; shortness of breath; trouble breathing; trouble swallowing; or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth after you take this medicine.

Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

  • Diarrhea
  • loose stools

Less common

  • Blistering, crusting, irritation, itching, or reddening of the skin
  • cracked, dry, or scaly skin
  • fever
  • swelling


  • Clinical evaluation

Specific diagnostic measures are usually not necessary. However, fever, severe abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhea suggest more serious disease and should prompt immediate evaluation.


  • Fluid replacement
  • Sometimes antimotility drugs
  • Antibiotics (eg, ciprofloxacin, azithromycin) for moderate to severe diarrhea

The mainstay of treatment of traveler's diarrhea is fluid replacement and an antimotility drug such as loperamide and for children 27 to 43 kg, up to age 12, 2 mg after the first loose stool followed by 1 mg after each subsequent loose stool (maximum dose is 6 mg/day). Antimotility drugs are contraindicated in patients with fever or bloody stools and in children < 2 yr. Iodochlorhydroxyquin, which may be available in some developing countries, should not be used because it may cause neurologic damage.

Generally, antibiotics are not necessary for mild diarrhea. In patients with moderate to severe diarrhea (≥ 3 loose stools over 8 h), antibiotics are given, especially if vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever, or bloody stools are present. For adults, ciprofloxacin 500 mg po bid for 3 days or levofloxacin 500 mg po once/day for 3 days is recommended, although resistance appears to be increasing in some areas, particularly to Campylobacter. Azithromycin 500 mg po once/day for 3 days or rifaximin 200 mg po tid for 3 days may also be used. For children, azithromycin5 to 10 mg/kg po once/day for 3 days is preferred.

Warnings and Precautions

If you develop symptoms of any of the serious side effects of azithromycin, stop taking the medication and call your doctor immediately. Seek emergency medical care if you experience symptoms of anaphylaxis.

Azithromycin is a pregnancy category B drug, which means animal studies have not shown a risk to the fetus, but there are no definitive studies in pregnant women. If you're pregnant, discuss the risks and benefits of taking azithromycin with your doctor. Also discuss potential effects if you're a nursing mother as small amounts of azithromycin can be excreted in breast milk.

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