Azithromycin (Injection)

Introduction

Azithromycin (ay-zith-roe-MYE-sin)

Treats infections caused by bacteria. This medicine is a macrolide antibiotic.

Brand Name(s)

Zithromax

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to azithromycin, erythromycin, or to any other macrolide or ketolide antibiotic (such as clarithromycin, roxithromycin, telithromycin, Biaxin®, or Ketek®). You should not receive this medicine if you have a history of liver disease.

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable

  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins. This medicine is given slowly, so the needle will remain in place for about an hour.
  • A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • Your doctor may give you a few doses of this medicine until your condition improves, and then you may be switched to an oral medicine that works the same way. If you have any concerns about this, talk to your doctor.
  • Keep using this medicine for the full treatment time, even if you feel better after the first few doses. Your infection may not clear up if you stop using the medicine too soon.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using cyclosporine (Gengraf®, Neoral®, Sandimmune®), digoxin (Lanoxin®), nelfinavir (Viracept®), terfenadine (Seldane®), ergot medicines (such as dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, Cafergot®, Ergomar®, Ergostat®, or Wigraine®), medicine for seizures (such as hexobarbital, phenytoin, or Dilantin®), or a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®).

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, congestive heart failure, heart rhythm problems (such as QT prolongation), myasthenia gravis (severe muscle weakness), or problems with your immune system.
  • This medicine may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash; itching; hives; hoarseness; shortness of breath; trouble breathing; trouble swallowing; or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth after you receive this medicine.
  • Serious skin reactions can occur with this medicine. Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you have blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin; red skin lesions; severe acne or skin rash; sores or ulcers on the skin; or fever or chills while you are using this medicine.
  • Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach; pale stools; dark urine; loss of appetite; nausea; unusual tiredness or weakness; or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
  • If you have severe diarrhea, ask your doctor before taking any medicine to stop the diarrhea. It may occur 2 months or more after you stop using this medicine.
  • Tell your doctor if you have bleeding, blistering, burning, discoloration of the skin, itching, lumps, pain, rash, redness, or swelling at the injection site.
  • This medicine can cause changes in heart rhythms, such as a condition called QT prolongation. It may change the way your heart beats and cause fainting or serious side effects in some patients. Contact your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of heart rhythm problems, such as fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeats.
  • This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Use a sunscreen when you are outdoors. Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, call your doctor.
  • Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
  • Use this medicine only to treat the infection your doctor has prescribed it for. Do not use this medicine for any infection or condition that has not been checked by a doctor. This medicine will not treat the flu or the common cold.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash.
  • Dark-colored urine or pale stools.
  • Diarrhea that may contain blood.
  • Fast, slow, or uneven heartbeats.
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or pain in your upper stomach.
  • Pain itching, burning, swelling, or a lump under your skin where the needle is placed.
  • Severe muscle weakness.
  • Shortness of breath or troubled breathing.
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Headache.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Mild diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, or upset stomach.
  • Mild skin rash or itching.
  • Sores or white patches on your lips, mouth, or throat.
  • Vaginal itching or discharge.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013

         
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