Molecule Description

Azithromycin is an antibiotic used to treat several bacterial infections.

Uses of Azithromycin

Azithromycin is useful in the treatment of infections caused by bacteria like respiratory infections, sinusitis, pharyngitis/ tonsillitis, pneumonia, skin infections, ear infections, sexually transmitted diseases, and traveler’s diarrhea.
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Contraindications of Azithromycin

When should one not use Azithromycin

Azithromycin is not to be used in patients with an allergic reaction to Azithromycin, Erythromycin, or any other macrolide or Ketolide antibiotics. It is contraindicated in patients with a history of cholestatic jaundice.
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Side effects of Azithromycin

Common side effects of this drug are:

  • Dizziness
  • Mild stomach upset
  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sensation of pins and numbness
  • Visual impairment
  • Skin rash and itching
  • Joint pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Allergic skin reactions
  • Fatigue

Precautions and Warnings of Azithromycin


Can I take Azithromycin during pregnancy?
The safety of Azithromycin during pregnancy is yet to establish. Azithromycin is not recommendable in pregnancy. Ask your doctor before taking this medicine.

Breast Feeding

Can I take Azithromycin while breastfeeding?
Azithromycin partially passes into human breast milk. If you are taking Azithromycin then stop breastfeeding your baby. It is advised to discard the milk during treatment and until two days after discontinuation of treatment. You can restart breastfeeding thereafter.


Can I drive if I have consumed Azithromycin?
You may drive, but be sure you are not experiencing dizziness before you start driving.


Can I consume alcohol with Azithromycin?
No known interaction.

Other General Warnings

Talk to your doctor if
  • You have liver or kidney issues
  • You have heart problems
  • Your blood levels of potassium or magnesium are too low
  • Avoid use of migraine medicines like Ergotamine along with Azithromycin
  • You have myasthenia gravis
  • When and how to consume medicine - Food decreases absorption of Azithromycin. Hence, Azithromycin should be taken 1 hour before or 2 hours after food

Mode of Action of Azithromycin

How Does It Work?

Azithromycin prevents the growth of bacteria by interfering with their protein synthesis. It binds to a specific part of the bacterial nucleus and inhibits the process required for bacterial growth. Thereby, bacteria are killed, or their growth is stalled depending on the organism and the medicine concentration.
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Interactions of Azithromycin

Interactions with other medicines

  • Antacids - Azithromycin should be taken at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after the antacid
  • Azithromycin interacts with blood thinners like Enoxaprin, Fondparinux, Heparin, and Warfarin. It also interacts with medications used to prevent blood clots such as Thrombin, Bivalirudin, Dalteparin
  • Terfenadine should not be taken at the same time as this may cause severe heart problems
  • Zidovudine or Nelfinavir are used to treat HIV infections. Taking these together should be avoided
  • Rifabutin - used to treat tuberculosis
  • Quinidine - used to treat rhythm of heart problems
  • Cyclosporin - used after an organ transplant. Your doctor will regularly check Cyclosporin levels in your blood and may change your dose

Interactions with food items

It interacts with grapefruit as both Azithromycin and grapefruit are broken down in the same way by the liver.

Dosage of Azithromycin


Azithromycin overdose can cause diarrhea, dyspepsia, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting and if there is a case of an overdose, report to the nearest hospital immediately.

Missed a Dose

If you missed any dose, take is as soon as you remember. If it is time for your next dose, skip the missed dose, and take medicine at the next regular scheduled time. Do not take extra/ double medicine to compensate for the missed dosage.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: Is Azithromycin the same as Erythromycin?

A: No. Both are different antibiotics belonging to the same class. Azithromycin is the next generation antibiotic of the Erythromycin class.

Q: What should I discuss with my physician before taking Azithromycin?

A: You must discuss your ongoing medicines, and history of allergies if any, with the physician.
Last Updated on: 17 Apr 2020 | 09:19 PM (IST)

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