What is this medicine?
AZITHROMYCIN (az ith roe MYE sin) is a macrolide antibiotic. It is used to treat or prevent certain kinds of bacterial infections. It will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Zmax
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- history of blood diseases, like leukemia
- history of irregular heartbeat
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- myasthenia gravis
- an unusual or allergic reaction to azithromycin, erythromycin, other macrolide antibiotics, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medicine?
Take this medicine by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take this medicine on an empty stomach, 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals. Drink your full dose at once. Do not split the dose. If you vomit within 1 hour of taking the dose, let your health care provider know immediately, you may need more medicine.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for infants as young as 6 months for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
This does not apply because you will take all of the medicine as 1 dose.
What may interact with this medicine?
Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
This medicine may also interact with the following medications:
- antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium
- birth control pills
- ergot alkaloids like dihydroergotamine, ergotamine
- other medicines that prolong the QT interval (an abnormal heart rhythm)
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Tell your doctor or healthcare provider if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse.
This medicine may cause serious skin reactions. They can happen weeks to months after starting the medicine. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you notice fevers or flu-like symptoms with a rash. The rash may be red or purple and then turn into blisters or peeling of the skin. Or, you might notice a red rash with swelling of the face, lips or lymph nodes in your neck or under your arms.
Do not treat diarrhea with over the counter products. Contact your doctor if you have diarrhea that lasts more than 2 days or if it is severe and watery.
Contact your doctor if vomiting and fussiness with feeding occurs in a treated infant.
This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
- allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- bloody or watery diarrhea
- breathing problems
- chest pain
- fast, irregular heartbeat
- muscle weakness
- rash, fever, and swollen lymph nodes
- redness, blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
- signs and symptoms of liver injury like dark yellow or brown urine; general ill feeling or flu-like symptoms; light-colored stools; loss of appetite; nausea; right upper belly pain; unusually weak or tired; yellowing of the eyes or skin
- white patches or sores in the mouth
- unusually weak or tired
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- stomach pain
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medicine?
Keep out of reach of children.
Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Keep the bottle closed tightly until ready to use. Use within 12 hours.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy