Azithromycin, also known as Zithromax, is an antibiotic for bacterial infections, and in this review, we’re going to take a look at all its uses, mechanism of action, and its side effects so that you’re equipped with all the information that you need to know before starting a course of Azithromycin.

Azithromycin Uses

This drug is used in many different applications including the treatment of various types of infections that are bacterial in nature including chest infections like bronchitis and pneumonia, skin and soft tissue infections, and also infections of the ear, nose, and throat such as tonsillitis, sinusitis, otitis media, and so on.

It is also prescribed for treating Lyme disease, as well as certain types of STIs (sexually transmitted infections) like chlamydia and gonorrhea. When treating gonorrhea and chlamydia, only one dose of Azithromycin is needed, which can be bought without a prescription from the pharmacy. The treatment for Chlamydia is sold under the brand name Clamelle.

The antibacterial activity of Azithromycin is very similar to the range seen in penicillin, and that’s why this treatment is often used as an alternative to that drug in people who have allergies to penicillin antibiotics. Your doctor may take a sample of your tissue to ensure that Azithromycin will work on the bacteria that are causing the infection.

Azithromycin Mechanism Of Action

This drug falls under a class of antibiotic called macrolide. It’s a broad spectrum drug which clears up infections caused by many different types of bacteria. The way in which it works is that it prevents bacteria from producing the proteins that are essential for their survival, and without those proteins, the bacteria stops growing and replicating.

Without the increase in numbers, that bacteria eventually dies or gets destroyed by the immune system, which results in the clearing up of the infection. Azithromycin is suitable for children over six months of age, and for adults. Its brand names are Zithromax and Clamelle, but it’s also available as a generic which is equally effective.

Azithromycin Dosage: How To Take The Medication

This drug comes in two strengths: Azithromycin 250 mg and Azithromycin 500mg. Your correct dose will be determined by your doctor but once you have your recommended dose, this treatment is typically taken once every day until the prescribed course is finished.

It comes in the form of capsules, tablet, or a liquid. You can take the capsules with a glass of water about an hour before you eat, or two hours after your meal. The medicine that comes in tablet or liquid form can be taken with or without food.

However, it’s important not to take any indigestion remedies for at least two hours prior to or after taking Azithromycin as this could interfere with the way in which the medication works. Indigestion remedies affect the rate of absorption of this medicine into the gut, making it much less effective.

Also, do your best to take the dose at about the same time every day. If you miss a dose, simply take it as soon as you remember on that day and then take the next dose at the correct time the next day. Don’t take double doses to make up for missed ones as this could lead to an overdose of the medication in your system and ultimately, an increased risk of adverse side effects.

If your prescription is the liquid form of Azithromycin, always shake the bottle well before taking the recommended dose, and use only the measuring spoon that is provided with the medication. Regular teaspoons may not give the accurate dose.

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Azithromycin Side Effects

As with most medications used in the treatment of bacterial infections, Azithromycin comes with a few side effects which are listed below:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache

Generally, it’s alright to drink alcohol while taking this treatment, as long as you do so in moderation, and not at the exact same time as your Azithromycin dose. The side effects mentioned above are mild and typically don’t last very long, but if you experience adverse side effects, or if they last for a prolonged period of time, then get in touch with your doctor to get help.

And remember, just as with all other antibiotics, It’s vital that you finish the entire course that is prescribed for you, even if you’re feeling a lot better or if your infection has cleared up completely.

Further Precautions: Who Should Not Take Azithromycin?

While this drug is considered safe to use, there are some instances where it should not be taken. Azithromycin isn’t suitable for children under the age of six months. It’s also not suitable for anyone who is allergic to other types of antibiotics like macrolide or ketolide. Make sure that your doctor is fully aware of your medical history as well as any current conditions you have or medicines that you’re taking. Other people who need to avoid taking Azithromycin include those who have a history of:

  • Liver or kidney problems
  • Heart failure
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Myasthenia gravis (abnormal muscle weakness)
  • Abnormal potassium or magnesium levels in the blood

Can Pregnant Or BreastFeeding Women Take Azithromycin?

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or if you think you could be pregnant in the near future, then make sure that you talk to your doctor before taking Azithromycin as the safety of this treatment during pregnancy and breastfeeding has yet to be confirmed. This means that your doctor will probably find a more suitable alternative where the benefits outweigh all possible risks to mother and baby.

Azithromycin Review: The Final Verdict

This drug is a very effective treatment for a wide range of bacterial infections. It has very few side effects and comes at an extremely affordable price. The recommended dose can either be taken by mouth or it can be administered intravenously. First discovered in 1980, this medicine has become the go-to antibiotic prescribed by doctors everywhere and it even made it onto the list of essential medicines that was created by the World Health Organization.

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