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  • Azithromycin: Drug Information

    Azithromycin is an antibiotic medication used to treat a variety of bacterial infections, including respiratory tract infections, skin infections, ear infections, and sexually transmitted infections. It belongs to the macrolide class of antibiotics and works by inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis.

    Azithromycin is usually taken orally in the form of tablets, capsules, or liquid, and the dosage and length of treatment depend on the type and severity of the infection being treated. It is generally well-tolerated, although some people may experience side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

    In addition to its use in treating bacterial infections, azithromycin has also been studied for its potential effectiveness in treating other conditions, such as COVID-19, asthma, and inflammatory lung diseases. However, the use of azithromycin for these conditions is still being investigated and has not been fully established. It is important to always consult a healthcare provider before taking any medication. See our selection of azithromycin impurities in our catalog.

    What is azithromycin?

    Azithromycin is a prescription antibiotic medication that is used to treat various bacterial infections. It is part of the macrolide class of antibiotics and works by inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis. This medication is available in several forms, including tablets, capsules, and liquid. Azithromycin is commonly used to treat respiratory tract infections, skin infections, ear infections, and sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. It may also be used for other purposes as determined by a healthcare provider. Azithromycin is generally well-tolerated, but some people may experience side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed and to finish the entire course of treatment, even if symptoms improve before the medication is completed.

    How does Azithromycin work?

    Azithromycin works by inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis, which prevents the growth and spread of bacteria. Specifically, it binds to the bacterial 50S ribosomal subunit, which is responsible for protein synthesis and prevents it from functioning properly. This prevents the bacteria from producing the proteins they need to survive and reproduce, leading to their eventual death.

    Azithromycin is a macrolide antibiotic, which means it is a type of antibiotic that binds to the bacterial ribosome in a unique way compared to other classes of antibiotics. This makes it effective against a wide range of bacteria, including some that may be resistant to other types of antibiotics.

    It is important to note that azithromycin is only effective against bacterial infections and will not work against viral infections, such as the common cold or flu. Additionally, it is important to take azithromycin exactly as prescribed by a healthcare provider and to complete the entire course of treatment even if symptoms improve, to ensure that the infection is fully treated and to prevent the development of antibiotic resistance.

    Chemical properties of Azithromycin

    Azithromycin is a semi-synthetic macrolide antibiotic with a chemical name of 9-deoxy-9a-aza-9a-methyl-9a-homoerythromycin A. Its chemical formula is C38H72N2O12, and it has a molecular weight of 749.0 g/mol.

    Azithromycin is a white crystalline powder that is practically insoluble in water and slightly soluble in alcohol. It is soluble in acetone, methanol, and dioxane. Azithromycin is stable at acidic pH, but it may degrade at alkaline pH. It has a pKa of 8.7 and a melting point of 113-115 °C.

    The chemical structure of azithromycin includes a 15-membered lactone ring, two sugar moieties, and an amino group. The presence of the lactone ring and the sugar moieties gives azithromycin its characteristic macrolide structure, which is responsible for its activity against a wide range of bacteria.

    Potential side effects and precautions of Azithromycin

    Like all medications, azithromycin may cause side effects in some people. The most common side effects of azithromycin include:

    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Abdominal pain
    • Headache
    • Dizziness
    • Rash

    These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days. However, if they persist or become severe, it is important to talk to a healthcare provider.

    In rare cases, azithromycin may cause more serious side effects, such as:

    • Severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis
    • Liver problems
    • Hearing loss
    • Irregular heart rhythm

    If any of these side effects occur, it is important to seek medical attention right away.

    Before taking azithromycin, it is important to inform a healthcare provider of any medical conditions or medications being taken, as they may interact with azithromycin. Azithromycin should not be taken by people who are allergic to it or any other macrolide antibiotics.

    Azithromycin may also interact with certain medications, including antacids, blood thinners, and some antihistamines. It is important to inform a healthcare provider of all medications being taken before starting azithromycin. Additionally, azithromycin may not be safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women. It is important to talk to a healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of taking azithromycin during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Overall, azithromycin is generally safe and well-tolerated, but it is important to take it only as prescribed by a healthcare provider and to inform them of any medical conditions or medications being taken.

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