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Azithromycin is a macrolide-type antibiotic used for the treatment of a wide variety of bacterial infections. This may also be used to prevent mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection. MAC usually occurs in people with HIV infection. Azithromycin can be used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as well. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this medication. Azithromycin is an antibiotic that fights bacteria. This is used in different types of infections caused by certain bacteria;

  • Skin infections
  • Respiratory infections
  • Ear infections
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

Bacterial infections 

Bacteria are living things that have only one cell. Infectious bacteria can make you ill. They reproduce quickly in your body. Many give off chemicals called toxins which can damage tissue and make you sick. An infection happens when other organisms enter your body can cause disease. You can acquire an infection in many different ways. Although there are many bacteria in and on our bodies, these bacteria often don’t cause disease. The bacteria in our digestive tract can help us digest our food. 


This is a group of bacteria related to tuberculosis. The germs are very common in water, food, and soil. When you have a strong immune system, they don’t cause problems. But they can make people with weaker immune systems like those with HIV. MAC usually causes problems after HIV becomes AIDS and your CD4 cell count gets lower than 50. This condition can infect one part of your body like your intestines, bones, or lungs. It can also spread and cause disease throughout your body. If MAC goes all over your body, you may have:

  • Night sweats
  • High fever or chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Belly pain
  • Swollen glands
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss 
  • Fewer red blood cells or anemia 


This is a progressive lung disease that is characterized by increasing breathlessness. With the right diagnosis and treatment, there are many things you can do to manage the disease and breathe better. People may live for many years with COPD and enjoy life. A COPD symptom frequently doesn’t seem to appear until significant lung damage has happened. They typically get worse over time, mainly if smoking exposure remains. The main symptom of this condition is a daily cough and mucus production. Other signs and symptoms of COPD may include:

  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath particularly throughout a physical activities
  • Chronic cough that may produce mucus that might be white, clear, greenish, or yellow
  • Chest tightness 
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Lack of energy
  • Unintended weight loss

The main reason for COPD in some countries is tobacco smoking. In the developing world, COPD regularly happens in people exposed to heat in poorly ventilated homes or smokes from burning fuel for cooking. People with this type of condition are at risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, and a variety of other conditions. 

How It Works

Azithromycin is a type of antibiotic called a macrolide. It works by preventing bacteria from making proteins that are important to them. Without these proteins, the bacteria cannot develop, duplicate, and rise in numbers. The bacteria eventually die or are destroyed by the immune system. This clears up the infection. Azithromycin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that helps clear up infections caused by a wide range of bacteria.

How To Use It

Azithromycin is usually taken once a day with or without food as directed by your doctor. You may take the medicine with food if a stomach upset occurs. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to the treatment. To help you remember, take the medication at the same time and in the same way each day. For the best effects, take this antibiotic at evenly spaced times. 

You should begin to feel better during the first few days of treatment with this medication. Take Azithromycin until you finish the prescription even if you feel better. Do not stop taking the drug unless you experience severe side effects. If you stop taking Azithromycin too soon or skip disease, your infection may not be completely treated. The bacteria may as well become resistant to antibiotics. 

An antacid that contains aluminum or magnesium may lessen the absorption of azithromycin if taken at the same time. Wait at least 2 hours if you take an antacid that contains magnesium or aluminum, before or after taking this drug. Let your doctor know if your condition persists or gets worse. 

Side Effects 

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach upset
  • Headache
  • Insomnia or sleep problems
  • Hearing problems
  • Nervousness
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Itching or skin rash
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Decreased sense of taste or smell
  • Vaginal itching or discharge
  • Tiredness

If these continue or get worse, call for medical help right away.


  • Inform your doctor if you have any allergies or any medical history. This drug may have some ingredients that cause an allergic reaction. 
  • If you vomit within an hour after taking a dose of this medication, call your doctor right away. Your doctor will tell you if you need to take another dose. Do not take another dose unless your doctor tells you to do so. 
  • Consult your doctor first if you are pregnant or breastfeeding women before using this medication.
  • This may make you feel dizzy. Avoid using machinery or driving.
  • If you need to take a painkiller while you are taking this drug, it may be safe if you’ll take ibuprofen, paracetamol, or co-codamol. 
  • Before you take Azithromycin, tell your doctor if you are already taking any medicines including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines. 
  • Do not share this or any of your medications with others who have the same condition as yours.
  • This can rarely cause liver problems. If you have any liver problems, it could make your liver function worse. 
  • Azithromycin does not affect hormonal contraceptives such as the pill. But, if you experience vomit while taking antibiotics, this can potentially make your pill less effective at preventing pregnancy. Call your doctor for instructions if this happens. 
  • Keep this away from heat, moisture, wet surface, or the reach of children.