Azithromycin to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections

Zithromax belongs to a group of drugs called macrolide antibiotics. Zithromax fights bacteria in the body. Zithromax is used to treat many different types of infections caused by bacteria, such as respiratory infections, skin infections, ear infections, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Zithromax is also known as Azithromycin or Sumamed.

How to take

Take Zithromax tablets orally. Swallow the tablets whole with a full glass of water. Zithromax tablets can be taken with or without food. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Finish the full course prescribed by your prescriber or health care professional, even if you think your condition is better.

Side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Zithromax:

  1. hives;
  2. difficulty breathing;
  3. swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using Zithromax and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • Diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
  • Headache with chest pain and severe dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeats;
  • Nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
  • Fevers, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Less serious Zithromax side effects may include:

  • mild diarrhea, vomiting, constipation;
  • stomach pain or upset;
  • dizziness, tired feeling, mild headache;
  • nervous feelings, sleep problems (insomnia);
  • vaginal itching or discharge;
  • mild rash or itching;
  • ringing in your ears, problems with hearing; or
  • decreased sense of taste or smell.

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur.


Do not take antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium within 2 hours before or after you take Zithromax. This includes Acid Gone, Aldroxicon, Alternagel, Di-Gel, Gaviscon, Gelusil, Genaton, Maalox, Maldroxal, Milk of Magnesia, Mintox, Mylagen, Mylanta, Pepcid Complete, Rolaids, Rulox, and others. These antacids can make Zithromax less effective when taken at the same time.

Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, stop taking Zithromax and call your doctor. Do not use anti-diarrhea medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Zithromax can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.


Many drugs can interact with generic Zithromax. Below is just a partial list. Tell your doctor if you are using

  • Arsenic trioxide (Trisenox);
  • Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune);
  • Pimozide (Orap);
  • Tacrolimus (Prograf);
  • Theophylline (Theo-Dur, Theolair, Theochron);
  • Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven);
  • Another antibiotic, especially clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E.E.S., EryPed, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin, Pediazole), levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), or pentamidine (NebuPent, Pentam);
  • An antidepressant such as amitriptylline (Elavil, Vanatrip, Limbitrol), clomipramine (Anafranil), or desipramine (Norpramin);
  • Anti-malaria medications such as chloroquine (Aralen) or mefloquine (Lariam);
  • Cholesterol-lowering medicines such as lovastatin (Mevacor), atorvastatin (Lipitor), or simvastatin (Zocor).

Missed dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it’s almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses. There should be an interval of at least 12 hours between doses.


Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Keep it out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.