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Azithromycin: Drug Description

azithromycin is a prescription antibiotic that is effective at treating various types of bacterial and sexually transmitted infections. Most commonly azithromycin is prescribed to treat the following:

  • Throat infections (tonsillitis, pharyngitis)
  • Respiratory infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Ear infections (otitis media)
  • Skin and skin structure infections (cellulitis, folliculitis, or impetigo)
  • Sinus infections (sinusitis)
  • Gastrointestinal infections (traveler's diarrhea)
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
Azithromycin is licensed for the treatment of otitis media (ear infection), community acquired pneumonia, pharyngitis and tonsillitis (strep throat) and children. It is not a full list of bacterial infections that may be treated with Azithromycin. Remember that the medication will not work for viral infections, such as flu or cold.

You can also use generic Azithromycin if you have any of these sexually transmitted diseases:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chancroid (genital ulcer disease)
Off-label Azithromycin uses include the treatment of acne, cat scratch disease, whooping cough and the prevention of heart infection.

Unlike many other antibiotics, Azithromycin stays in the body for quite a long time, allowing for shorter treatment courses (usually 3 to 5 days) for most infections. This fact makes Azithromycin particularly popular with children who do not like to take medicines. Sexually transmitted diseases may be treated with a single dose of Azithromycin.

Mechanism of action

Active component azithromycin, which belongs to a group of antibiotics known as macrolides. It reduces the amount of protein produced by bacteria and blocks peptide activity, thereby preventing bacteria from growing and multiplying.

Azithromycin is effective against most common types of bacteria, including Streptococcus pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, Hemophilus influenzae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Mycobacterium avium, and others.

How Supplied

Azithromycin comes in form of tablets and liquid suspension. Azithromycin tablets come in a number of strengths, including Azithromycin 100 mg, Azithromycin 250 mg, and Azithromycin 500 mg.


Azithromycin dosage is based on the type of bacterial infection being treated and some other factors, such as patient’s response to the medication and other medical conditions he or she has. Your doctor will prescribe Azithromycin dosage which is right for your particular situation. You will find standard recommended dosages of Azithromycin in the Patients Information Leaflet.

When treating most types of bacterial infections, the recommended Azithromycin dosage can vary between 250 mg and 500 mg taken once a day for 3-5 days. For example, the recommended dosage for skin infections and pharyngitis/tonsillitis is 500 mg taken as a single dose on the first day of treatment followed by 250 mg once a day for the next four days. Treatment course may last longer for chronic infections.

In children, Azithromycin dosage depends on weight and can range from 5 mg/kg to 20 mg/kg taken once a day for 3-5 days.

Patients with sexually transmitted diseases may be prescribed 1 g to 2 g taken as a single dose one time only. Thus, the recommended dosage of Azithromycin for the treatment of genital ulcer disease is one single 1g dose, while patients with gonococcal urethritis and cervicitis are usually prescribed one single 2g dose.

Your dosage may need to be adjusted based on several factors. Consult your doctor before you use Azithromycin if you have any other severe medical conditions or use other medications.

Proper Use
  • Azithromycin tablets and oral suspension may be taken either with or without food. Take Azithromycin with milk if it bothers your stomach.
  • Try to take Azithromycin at the same time, because it is important to maintain an even level of azithromycin in your body.
  • Do not discontinue Azithromycin before you complete the entire prescribed course of treatment. Your symptoms may improve earlier, but it doesn’t mean that the infection is treated.
  • Before taking ZAzithromycin, read the Patient Information Leaflet carefully to ensure that Azithromycin is safe for you and to prevent unwanted side effects.