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All about: Azithromycin Suspension

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Generic Name: Azithromycin Oral Suspension (az-ith-roe-MYE-sin)
Brand Name: Zithromax

Azithromycin Suspension is used for:

Treating mild to moderate infections caused by certain bacteria. It may also be used alone or with other medicines to treat or prevent certain infections in persons with advanced HIV infection. However, Azithromycin Suspension will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections. It may also be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Azithromycin Suspension is a macrolide antibiotic. It slows the growth of, or sometimes kills, sensitive bacteria by reducing the production of important proteins needed by the bacteria to survive.

Do NOT use Azithromycin Suspension if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Azithromycin Suspension or to other macrolide antibiotics (eg, erythromycin)
  • you are taking pimozide

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Azithromycin Suspension:

Some medical conditions may interact with Azithromycin Suspension. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding.
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances.
  • if you have liver or kidney problems or abnormal heart rhythms

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Azithromycin Suspension. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Rifampin because the effectiveness of Azithromycin Suspension may be decreased
  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin), digoxin, disopyramide,pimozide, or rifampin because the actions and side effects of these medicines may be increased
  • Theophylline because blood levels may temporarily decrease after stopping Azithromycin Suspension

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Azithromycin Suspension may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Azithromycin Suspension:

Use Azithromycin Suspension as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Azithromycin Suspension may be taken with or without food.
  • Do not take aluminum- or magnesium-containing antacids at the same time with Azithromycin Suspension. Take Azithromycin Suspension at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after antacids.
  • Shake Azithromycin Suspension well before each use. Use a measuring device marked for medicine dosing. Ask your pharmacist for help if you are unsure of how to measure your dose.
  • Azithromycin Suspension works best if it is taken at the same time each day.
  • To clear up your infection completely, continue using Azithromycin Suspension for the full course of treatment even if you feel better in a few days.
  • If you miss a dose of Azithromycin Suspension, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Azithromycin Suspension.

Important safety information:

  • Azithromycin Suspension may cause drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, or lightheadedness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to Azithromycin Suspension. Using Azithromycin Suspension alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or to perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • Azithromycin Suspension may cause increased sensitivity to the sun. Avoid exposure to the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to Azithromycin Suspension. Use a sunscreen or protective clothing if you must be outside for a prolonged period.
  • If severe diarrhea, stomach pain/cramps, or bloody stools occur, contact your doctor immediately. This could be a symptom of a serious side effect requiring immediate medical attention. Do not treat diarrhea without consulting your doctor.
  • Long-term or repeated use of Azithromycin Suspension may cause a second infection. Your doctor may want to change your medicine to treat the second infection. Contact your doctor if signs of a second infection occur.
  • It is important to use Azithromycin Suspension for the full course of treatment. Failure to do so may decrease the effectiveness of this treatment and may increase the risk that the bacteria will no longer be sensitive to Azithromycin Suspension and it will not be able to be treated by this or certain other antibacterial medicines in the future.
  • Azithromycin Suspension is effective only against bacteria. It is not effective for treating viral infections (eg, the common cold).
  • Azithromycin Suspension may decrease the effectiveness of your birth control pill. To prevent pregnancy, you may want to use an additional form of birth control.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you plan on becoming pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using Azithromycin Suspension during pregnancy. It is unknown if Azithromycin Suspension is excreted in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding, check with your doctor to discuss the benefits and risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Azithromycin Suspension:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Diarrhea; headache; loose stools; nausea; stomach pain; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); bloody stools; chest pain; dark red raised areas of the skin; hearing loss; pounding in the chest; ringing in the ears; severe diarrhea; stomach cramps/pain; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include diarrhea; nausea; upset stomach; vomiting.

Proper storage of Azithromycin Suspension:

Store mixed suspension between 41 and 86 degrees F (5 and 30 degrees C). Use within 10 days of mixing. Keep tightly closed. Throw away any unused suspension after therapy. Keep medicine in original container. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Azithromycin Suspension out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Azithromycin Suspension, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Azithromycin Suspension is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people. Do not use Azithromycin Suspension for other health conditions.
  • If your symptoms do not improve within a few days or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about this medicine. If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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