Azithromycin tablets and oral suspension can be taken with or without food.
Patients should also be cautioned not to take aluminum- and magnesium-containing antacids and azithromycin simultaneously.
The patient should be directed to discontinue azithromycin immediately and contact a physician if any signs of an allergic reaction occur.
Patients should be counseled that antibacterial drugs including azithromycin tablets should only be used to treat bacterial infections. They do not treat viral infections (e.g., the common cold). When azithromycin tablets are prescribed to treat a bacterial infection, patients should be told that although it is common to feel better early in the course of therapy, the medication should be taken exactly as directed. Skipping doses or not completing the full course of therapy may (1) decrease the effectiveness of the immediate treatment and (2) increase the likelihood that bacteria will develop resistance and will not be treatable by azithromycin tablet or other antibacterial drugs in the future.
Diarrhea is a common problem caused by antibiotics which usually ends when the antibiotic is discontinued. Sometimes after starting treatment with antibiotics, patients can develop watery and bloody stools (with or without stomach cramps and fever) even as late as two or more months after having taken the last dose of the antibiotic. If this occurs, patients should contact their physician as soon as possible.
Co-administration of nelfinavir at steady-state with a single oral dose of azithromycin resulted in increased azithromycin serum concentrations. Although a dose adjustment of azithromycin is not recommended when administered in combination with nelfinavir, close monitoring for known side effects of azithromycin, such as liver enzyme abnormalities and hearing impairment, is warranted. (See ADVERSE REACTIONS.)
Although, in a study of 22 healthy men, a 5-day course of azithromycin did not affect the prothrombin time from a subsequently administered dose of warfarin, spontaneous post-marketing reports suggest that concomitant administration of azithromycin may potentiate the effects of oral anticoagulants. Prothrombin times should be carefully monitored while patients are receiving azithromycin and oral anticoagulants concomitantly.
Drug interaction studies were performed with azithromycin and other drugs likely to be coadministered. (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY-Drug-Drug Interactions.) When used in therapeutic doses, azithromycin had a modest effect on the pharmacokinetics of atorvastatin, carbamazepine, cetirizine, didanosine, efavirenz, fluconazole, indinavir, midazolam, rifabutin, sildenafil, theophylline (intravenous and oral), triazolam, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole or zidovudine. Co-administration with efavirenz, or fluconazole had a modest effect on the pharmacokinetics of azithromycin. No dosage adjustment of either drug is recommended when azithromycin is coadministered with any of the above agents.
Interactions with the drugs listed below have not been reported in clinical trials with azithromycin; however, no specific drug interaction studies have been performed to evaluate potential drug-drug interaction. Nonetheless, they have been observed with macrolide products. Until further data are developed regarding drug interactions when azithromycin and these drugs are used concomitantly, careful monitoring of patients is advised:
Digoxin–elevated digoxin concentrations.
Ergotamine or dihydroergotamine–acute ergot toxicity characterized by severe peripheral vasospasm and dysesthesia.
Terfenadine, cyclosporine, hexobarbital and phenytoin concentrations.
Laboratory Test Interactions: There are no reported laboratory test interactions.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility: Long-term studies in animals have not been performed to evaluate carcinogenic potential. azithromycin has shown no mutagenic potential in standard laboratory tests: mouse lymphoma assay, human lymphocyte clastogenic assay, and mouse bone marrow clastogenic assay. No evidence of impaired fertility due to azithromycin was found.
Teratogenic Effects. Pregnancy Category B: Reproduction studies have been performed in rats and mice at doses up to moderately maternally toxic dose concentrations (i.e., 200 mg/kg/day). These doses, based on a mg/m2 basis, are estimated to be 4 and 2 times, respectively, the human daily dose of 500 mg. In the animal studies, no evidence of harm to the fetus due to azithromycin was found. There are, however, no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, azithromycin should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.
Nursing Mothers: It is not known whether azithromycin is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when azithromycin is administered to a nursing woman.
(See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, INDICATIONS AND USAGE, and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
Acute Otitis Media (total dosage regimen: 30 mg/kg, see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION): Safety and effectiveness in the treatment of pediatric patients with otitis media under 6 months of age have not been established.
Acute Bacterial Sinusitis (dosage regimen: 10 mg/kg on Days 1-3): Safety and effectiveness in the treatment of pediatric patients with acute bacterial sinusitis under 6 months of age have not been established. Use of azithromycin tablet for the treatment of acute bacterial sinusitis in pediatric patients (6 months of age or greater) is supported by adequate and well-controlled studies in adults, similar pathophysiology of acute sinusitis in adults and pediatric patients, and studies of acute otitis media in pediatric patients.
Community-Acquired Pneumonia (dosage regimen: 10 mg/kg on Day 1 followed by 5 mg/kg on Days 2-5): Safety and effectiveness in the treatment of pediatric patients with community-acquired pneumonia under 6 months of age have not been established. Safety and effectiveness for pneumonia due to Chlamydia pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae were documented in pediatric clinical trials. Safety and effectiveness for pneumonia due to Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae were not documented bacteriologically in the pediatric clinical trial due to difficulty in obtaining specimens. Use of azithromycin for these two microorganisms is supported, however, by evidence from adequate and well-controlled studies in adults.
Pharyngitis/Tonsillitis (dosage regimen: 12 mg/kg on Days 1-5): Safety and effectiveness in the treatment of pediatric patients with pharyngitis/tonsillitis under 2 years of age have not been established.
Studies evaluating the use of repeated courses of therapy have not been conducted. (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY and ANIMAL TOXICOLOGY.)
Pharmacokinetic parameters in older volunteers (65-85 years old) were similar to those in younger volunteers (18-40 years old) for the 5-day therapeutic regimen. Dosage adjustment does not appear to be necessary for older patients with normal renal and hepatic function receiving treatment with this dosage regimen. (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY.)
In multiple-dose clinical trials of oral azithromycin, 9% of patients were at least 65 years of age (458/4949) and 3% of patients (144/4949) were at least 75 years of age. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in response between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.
Azithromycin tablets 250 mg contain 1.21 mg of sodium per tablet.
Azithromycin tablets 500 mg contain 2.42 mg of sodium per tablet.
In clinical trials, most of the reported side effects were mild to moderate in severity and were reversible upon discontinuation of the drug. Potentially serious side effects of angioedema and cholestatic jaundice were reported rarely. Approximately 0.7% of the patients (adults and pediatric patients) from the 5-day multiple-dose clinical trials discontinued azithromycin tablet therapy because of treatment-related side effects. In adults given 500mg/day for 3 days, the discontinuation rate due to treatment-related side effects was 0.6%. In clinical trials in pediatric patients given 30mg/kg, either as a single dose or over 3 days, discontinuation from the trials due to treatment-related side effects was approximately 1%. (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.) Most of the side effects leading to discontinuation were related to the gastrointestinal tract, e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. (See CLINICAL STUDIES IN PEDIATRIC PATIENTS.)
Multiple-dose regimens: Overall, the most common treatment-related side effects in adult patients receiving multiple-dose regimens of azithromycin tablet were related to the gastrointestinal system with diarrhea/loose stools (4-5%), nausea (3%) and abdominal pain (2-3%) being the most frequently reported.
No other treatment-related side effects occurred in patients on the multiple-dose regimens of azithromycin tablet with a frequency greater than 1%. Side effects that occurred with a frequency of 1% or less included the following:
Cardiovascular: Palpitations, chest pain.
Gastrointestinal: Dyspepsia, flatulence, vomiting, melena and cholestatic jaundice.
Genitourinary: Monilia, vaginitis and nephritis.
Nervous System: Dizziness, headache, vertigo and somnolence.
Allergic: Rash, pruritus, photosensitivity and angioedema.
Single 1-gramdose regimen: Overall, the most common side effects in patients receiving a single-dose regimen of 1 gram of azithromycin tablet were related to the gastrointestinal system and were more frequently reported than in patients receiving the multiple-dose regimen.
Side effects that occurred in patients on the single one-gram dosing regimen of azithromycin tablet with a frequency of 1% or greater included diarrhea/loose stools (7%), nausea (5%), abdominal pain (5%), vomiting (2%), dyspepsia (1%) and vaginitis (1%).
Single 2-gram dose regimen: Overall, the most common side effects in patients receiving a single 2-gram dose of azithromycin tablet were related to the gastrointestinal system. Side effects that occurred in patients in this study with a frequency of 1% or greater included nausea (18%), diarrhea/loose stools (14%), vomiting (7%), abdominal pain (7%), vaginitis (2%), dyspepsia (1%) and dizziness (1%). The majority of these complaints were mild in nature.
Single and Multiple-dose regimens: The types of side effects in pediatric patients were comparable to those seen in adults, with different incidence rates for the dosage regimens recommended in pediatric patients.
Acute Otitis Media: For the recommended total dosage regimen of 30 mg/kg, the most frequent side effects (≥1%) attributed to treatment were diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea and rash. (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and CLINICAL STUDIES IN PEDIATRIC PATIENTS.)
The incidence, based on dosing regimen, is described in the table below:
1-day 4.3% 1.4% 4.9% 1.0%
5-day 1.8% 1.2% 1.1% 0.5% 0.4%
Community-Acquired Pneumonia: For the recommended dosage regimen of 10 mg/kg on Day 1 followed by 5 mg/kg on Days 2-5, the most frequent side effects attributed to treatment were diarrhea/loose stools, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea and rash. The incidence is described in the table below:
Regimen Diarrhea/Loose stools, % Abdominal
Pain, % Vomiting, % Nausea, % Rash, %
Pharyngitis/tonsillitis: For the recommended dosage regimen of 12 mg/kg on Days 1-5, the most frequent side effects attributed to treatment were diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea and headache.
The incidence is described in the table below:
Regimen Diarrhea, % Abdominal
Pain, % Vomiting, % Nausea, % Rash, % Headache%
With any of the treatment regimens, no other treatment-related side effects occurred in pediatric patients treated with azithromycin tablet with a frequency greater than 1%. Side effects that occurred with a frequency of 1% or less included the following:
Cardiovascular: Chest pain.
Gastrointestinal: Dyspepsia, constipation, anorexia, enteritis, flatulence, gastritis, jaundice, loose stools and oral moniliasis.
Hematologic and Lymphatic: Anemia and leukopenia.
Nervous System: Headache (otitis media dosage), hyperkinesia, dizziness, agitation, nervousness and insomnia.
General: Fever, face edema, fatigue, fungal infection, malaise and pain.
Allergic: Rash and allergic reaction.
Respiratory: Cough increased, pharyngitis, pleural effusion and rhinitis.
Skin and Appendages: Eczema, fungal dermatitis, pruritus, sweating, urticaria and vesiculobullous rash.
Special Senses: Conjunctivitis.
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