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What Is Azithromycin For

what is azithromycin for

Why is this medication prescribed?

Azithromycin is used to treat certain bacterial infections, such as bronchitis; pneumonia; sexually transmitted diseases (STD); and infections of the ears, lungs, sinuses, skin, throat, and reproductive organs. Azithromycin also is used to treat or prevent disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection [a type of lung infection that often affects people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)]. Azithromycin is in a class of medications called macrolide antibiotics. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria.

Antibiotics such as azithromycin will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections. Using antibiotics when they are not needed increases your risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment.

How should this medicine be used?

Azithromycin comes as a tablet, an extended-release (long-acting) suspension (liquid), and a suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. The tablets and suspension (Zithromax) are usually taken with or without food once a day for 1–5 days. When used for the prevention of disseminated MAC infection, azithromycin tablets are usually taken with or without food once weekly.

The extended-release suspension (Zmax) is usually taken on an empty stomach (at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal) as a one-time dose. To help you remember to take azithromycin, take it around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take azithromycin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Shake the liquid well before each use to mix the medication evenly. Use a dosing spoon, oral syringe, or measuring cup to measure the correct amount of medication. Rinse the measuring device with water after taking the full dose of medication.

Other uses for this medicine

Azithromycin is also used sometimes to treat H. pylori infection, travelers' diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal infections; Legionnaires' disease (a type of lung infection); pertussis (whooping cough; a serious infection that can cause severe coughing); and babesiosis (an infectious disease carried by ticks). It is also used to prevent heart infection in people having dental or other procedures, and to prevent STD in victims of sexual assault.

Azithromycin side effects

Seek medical treatment if you have a serious drug reaction that can affect many parts of your body. Symptoms may include: skin rash, fever, swollen glands, flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, severe weakness, unusual bruising, or yellowing of your skin or eyes. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe stomach pain, diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
  • fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath, and sudden dizziness (like you might pass out); or
  • liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
  • Call your doctor right away if a baby taking Azithromycin 3 Day Dose Pack becomes irritable or vomits while eating or nursing.
  • Older adults may be more likely to have side effects on heart rhythm, including a life-threatening fast heart rate.
  • Common side effects may include:
  • diarrhea;
  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain; or
  • headache.

What should I avoid while taking azithromycin?

Do not take antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium within 2 hours before or after you take azithromycin. This includes Acid Gone, Aldroxicon, Alternagel, Di-Gel, Gaviscon, Gelusil, Genaton, Maalox, Maldroxal, Milk of Magnesia, Mintox, Mylagen, Mylanta, Pepcid Complete, Rolaids, Rulox, and others. These antacids can make azithromycin less effective when taken at the same time.

Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, call your doctor. Do not use anti-diarrhea medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Azithromycin can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.

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