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What is azithromycin?

Azithromycin is an antibiotic used to combat bacteria in the human body. The drug is effective against different types of bacterial infections, including respiratory infections, sexually transmitted diseases, eye infections, ear infections, and skin infections. However, using the drug is not advisable if you have had liver issues or jaundice due to its use. Moreover, if you are allergic to the drug or other similar drugs, including erythromycin, telithromycin, or clarithromycin, taking azithromycin is not recommended. Before using the drug, it is crucial to inform your physician of any previous conditions such as heart rhythm disorder, kidney disease, liver disease, long QT syndrome, low potassium levels in your blood, or myasthenia gravis, to ensure that the drug is safe for you. Additionally, if you are pregnant, the drug is not expected to harm the unborn baby, but you should inform your doctor. The drug’s impact on breastfeeding babies is unknown, and it is important to consult your physician if you are breastfeeding.

Take the medication as prescribed by your doctor and ensure that you follow the prescription label instructions to the letter. The dose and treatment period may differ based on the type of infection you have. You can take most forms of azithromycin with or without food, but for the extended-release liquid suspension, take it on an empty stomach at least one hour before or two hours after a meal. If you are using the oral suspension single dose packet, pour it into two ounces of water, stir, and drink it all at once. Do not store it for later use. Shake the liquid suspension before use and use the dosing syringe provided or ask for a special dose-measuring cup or spoon. Using the medicine for the entire recommended period is essential, even if your symptoms improve before completing the prescription. Azithromycin cannot treat viral infections like the flu or the common cold.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible, but if it is close to the time for the next one, skip it and continue with the regular dosing schedule. However, do not take extra medicine to compensate for a missed dose. If you overdose, seek immediate medical attention or call the poison helpline. It is advisable to avoid antacids containing aluminum or magnesium two hours before or after taking azithromycin to prevent interference with its effectiveness.

Azithromycin may cause diarrhea, a sign of a new infection, and if it’s watery or bloody, call your doctor. Avoid anti-diarrhea medication unless the doctor recommends it. Also, prolonged exposure to sunlight or tanning beds while taking azithromycin is not recommended since it makes the skin more susceptible to sunburn. Therefore, it is essential to wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen. The drug may cause QT prolongation or irregular heart rhythm, so avoid other medications that cause this reaction. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience allergic reactions to azithromycin, such as breathing difficulties or hives, or if you have a severe drug reaction with symptoms such as swollen glands, skin rash, flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, severe weakness, or yellowing of the eyes or skin. Such a reaction can occur weeks after starting to use the drug. In case of severe stomach pains, bloody diarrhea, fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in the chest, shortness of breath, and sudden dizziness, call your physician immediately.

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