Azithromycin: see what it is for and if it is for child use

The use of antibiotic medications often raises doubts. This is because they are remedies used in specific cases and, even those that are similar, do not usually have the same indications and forms of use.

Therefore, we have separated some important information about Azithromycin, which is an antibiotic often indicated by doctors. Understand what it is for and other important recommendations:


What is Azithromycin?

Azithromycin is a drug substance, classified as an antibiotic. Therefore, it acts in the treatment of conditions caused by bacteria, such as:

  • Bronchitis – inflammation of the mucosa of the bronchial tubes;
  • Pneumonia – infection that inflames the air sacs of the lungs, so that they can become filled with fluid;
  • Skin infections – such as ectima and folliculitis;
  • Otitis – inflammation of the middle ear, internal or external (usually with infection);
  • Chlamydia – sexually transmitted disease that can affect men and women.

Basically, Azithromycin works by preventing the bacteria sensitive to it from producing proteins , which are the basis of their growth and reproduction. Thus, neutralizing and killing the microorganism.

In addition, the medication can be administered orally or intravenously (hospital environment) and, in general, its use is prescribed for a maximum of 5 days – unlike most antibiotics , which are generally indicated for a period of 7 to 14 days.

It is worth mentioning that this remedy can be recommended for both adult and pediatric use (as long as following the instructions on the package insert).

What does Azithromycin dihydrate mean?

During the process of formulating a remedy, some molecules undergo “improvements”. These are made for different purposes – so that the molecule is absorbed faster, or metabolized more slowly, etc.

In the case of Azithromycin, the fact that it is dihydrated means that, during its process, the molecule of this substance suffered the addition of two water molecules. That is, it was hydrated twice. This, so that the medicine has a better action in the body.

Is it antibiotic?

-Yeah . The drug substance Azithromycin is registered with ANVISA (National Health Surveillance Agency) and categorized as macrolides (group of antimicrobials) and the like. This means that its action is local, it acts directly on the infectious agent.

In this sense, it is worth noting that antibiotics are substances that inhibit growth and / or destroy bacteria. Thus, they are used to control infectious conditions caused by these microorganisms.

Initially, the first antibiotics discovered were produced from fungi, such as penicillin. Currently, they can be synthetic or semi-synthetic.

What is the antibiotic Azithromycin for?

According to the package insert, Azithromycin is indicated for the treatment of infections by susceptible organisms of the lower respiratory tract (including bronchitis and pneumonia ), skin and soft tissue infections, otitis (ear infection) and upper respiratory tract infections ( sinusitis) , pharyngitis , etc.).

It is worth mentioning that, with susceptible organisms, we mean organisms (in this case, bacteria) that can be combated with this substance.

Still, this medication may be indicated for the treatment of genital infections uncomplicated due to Chlamydia trachomatis (chlamydia bacteria responsible for) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae ( the bacteria responsible for gonorrhea ) for both women and men.

In this sense, it can also treat cancer (caused by the bacterium Haemophilus ducreyi ).

This disease is characterized by an infection of the skin or genital mucous membranes – causing papules, painful ulcers and enlarged inguinal lymph nodes, causing suppuration.

How to take and what is the dosage?

Unlike most antibiotics, which need to be administered for long periods (up to 14 days), Azithromycin is usually prescribed for a maximum of 5 days.

This is because a dose of 1g of this substance remains active in the body for a longer time than most antibiotics. So it is considered a long-acting, slow-release antibiotic.

According to the instructions on the package insert, Azithromycin should be taken only once a day, and it can be administered on an empty stomach or with a meal.

It is worth noting that treatment with this medication can only last for one day (single dose). If the period is extended, the ideal is to always take the medicine at the same time – or according to medical specifications.

Regarding the dosage, in general, the package insert indicates that in case of Chlamydia, a single dose of 1000mg (orally) should be administered. For other indications with the oral formulation, the recommendation is a dose of 1500mg administered in 3 daily doses of 500mg, according to medical advice.

The administration of the drug intravenously (drip into the vein) has different recommendations and should be done in a hospital environment.

Special populations

With regard to patients with specific conditions, the leaflet for Azithromycin indicates that in general there is no differentiation in treatment.

Therefore, the elderly, people with kidney failure (except severe cases) or liver failure (mild to moderate), may take the same prescribed doses as usual.

In addition, with regard to pediatric use , the package insert indicates that the maximum total dose for any treatment in children is 1500mg. Highlighting that the medication should only be administered to children over 45kg.


As we saw in a previous topic, Azithromycin can be indicated for the treatment of different conditions – from problems in the respiratory tract to infections in the genital regions.

But, in order to clarify even more, look specifically at situations in which this medication may (or may not) be recommended by the doctor:

For throat

sore throat can have different causes: climate change, excessive use of alcohol, tobacco, etc. However, it can also be caused by an infection caused by bacteria – so it usually appears as a symptom.

In this sense, the package insert indicates that Azithromycin can be used to treat infections in the upper respiratory tract. Including problems like streptococcal pharyngitis .

This disease is characterized by pain and irritation in the throat, affecting the pharynx. It usually presents symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, fever and swelling in the neck.

Thus, when sore throat occurs due to pharyngitis (caused by bacteria) the use of Azithromycin may be recommended. Remembering that medical indication is essential.

For sinusitis

As mentioned in the previous topic, Azithromycin can be recommended for the treatment of sinusitis – when it is of the bacterial type.

This condition affects the sinuses (hollow spaces in the bones of the face around the nose) and usually causes headache and facial pain in general, as well as pain (or pressure) around the nose.

In general, this problem often originates after a viral infection, such as a cold or flu . In the treatment, the use of anti-inflammatories and decongestants may be indicated initially, before the antibiotic recommendation.

Therefore, it is essential to seek medical assistance in order to carry out the appropriate treatment for your case.

Urinary infection

The leaflet for Azithromycin is not indicated for cases of urinary infection . However, it is recommended for the treatment of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea – sexually transmitted diseases.

Among the symptoms of these diseases, some people may experience pain when urinating or in the pelvic area – similar to the symptoms of urinary tract infection.

However, in many cases there is no symptom. This is not common when there is a urinary tract infection, since the characteristics of this condition usually appear soon.

Thus, when the person manifests a case of Urthritis (pain when urinating and purulent discharge) associated with Chlamydia or Gonorrhea, Azithromycin may be indicated. Whereas it is a bacterial infection.

In cases of common urinary infection, this medication is not recommended.

So, if you have any of these symptoms, seek medical help. Because, the professional will be able to make the correct diagnosis and prescribe the proper medication for your case.

Price and where to buy

Azithromycin is a medication for controlled use, so it can only be purchased with a prescription.

It is sold in physical pharmacies and online. However, since it is necessary to retain a copy of the prescription at the pharmacy, when purchased online, it needs to be removed at the physical store.

In this sense, you can use the website Consulta Remédios , where you can compare the price of medication in different establishments and choose the best offer in your locality.

Check the average price * of Azithromycin in different versions of the medication (generic, similar and reference):

  • Astro (similar interchangeable) – is sold in the box with 2, 3 or 5 tablets of 500mg, varying between R $ 10 and R $ 30. The injectable version, on the other hand, has a value close to R $ 50;
  • Azithromycin Medley (generic) – is sold in the box with 2, 3 or 5 tablets of 500mg, varying between R $ 7 and R $ 40;
  • Zitromax (reference) – is sold in the box with 2, 3 or 5 tablets of 500mg, with an average price of R $ 30.

When does Azithromycin start to take effect?

In general, Azithromycin (as well as other antibiotics) begins to show results in the first 24 hours after its administration (orally). Therefore, it is during this period that symptom relief can begin.

When the substance is administered intravenously, the results consequently tend to be faster.

In addition, it is worth noting that after its ingestion, the time required for Azithromycin to reach its peak plasma concentration is 2 to 3 hours. This means that this is the period when it reaches the concentrations necessary to have an effect on the body.

However, it is important to keep in mind that depending on the condition, symptoms may take longer to subside. This is because the improvement only occurs when the bacterial load decreases.

Also be aware of the fact that, even if the symptoms subside, do not stop taking Azithromycin. Complete the treatment by the time indicated by the doctor.

Side effects

The use of any medication can cause side effects. Whereas some drugs tend to cause more reactions and others less.

In the case of Azithromycin, the package insert indicates that the medication is well tolerated by the body and that the incidence of adverse reactions is very low.

Even so, the package insert provides the information that in some isolated cases, obtained through clinical studies, there were complications such as:

  • Ear and labyrinth disorders;
  • Disorders in the blood and lymphatic system;
  • Gastrointestinal problems – such as anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, flatulence, among others.

Therefore, when using this (or any other medication) it is important to pay attention to any changes without apparent cause. If this happens, seek medical help as soon as possible.

Read more: Anorexia: what it is, symptoms and treatment

Azithromycin cuts the effect of the contraceptive?

No . Many women who use hormonal contraceptive methods, such as birth control pills, are afraid to take antibiotics and cancel the contraceptive effect.

Some studies show that there is no risk in using Azithromycin in conjunction with hormonal methods. In this sense, they prove that this antibiotic does not stop the contraceptive effect.

In case of doubt, always choose to seek and follow medical guidelines.

Azithromycin and alcohol: how long after taking the medicine can you drink?

The Azithromycin package insert has no indication as to the interaction with alcohol. However, it is never recommended to mix alcoholic drinks with the use of antibiotics. This considering that adverse effects can occur (gastric, hepatic, etc.).

Thinking about the total elimination of the drug (drug substance), the ideal is to wait 7 days after finishing the treatment with Azithromycin.

Waiting for this period is important because the half-life (when the concentration of the medication reaches half) of Azithromycin is 4 days. Therefore, as the ingestion of ethanol leads to a reduction in the concentration of antibiotics in the blood, it is ideal to wait this time to maintain the effectiveness of the treatment.

Need a recipe?

-Yeah . Azithromycin, like any antibiotic, is of controlled use . In this sense, the medication leaflet itself warns that a 2-way white prescription is required – one is with the patient and the other is retained by the pharmacy.

It is worth mentioning that, regardless of whether the medicine is of controlled use or not, self-medication is never recommended. Therefore, always seek a doctor in order to receive the correct diagnosis and perform a safe treatment .

Is it a medicine for children’s use?

-Yeah . Azithromycin is an antibiotic that may have a pediatric indication, as long as following the recommendations stipulated in the package insert.

Thus, the maximum total dose for any treatment in children should be kept at 1500mg. The package insert also warns that the administration of this medicine should only be done in patients over 45kg.

It is worth noting that, as with adult use, the dosage and duration of medication use vary according to the condition to be treated. In this case, following medical recommendations is even more important.

Does azithromycin cause bacterial resistance?

Any and all medication should only be used according to the medical prescription. However, when it comes to antibiotics, this care must be even greater.

This is because by not respecting the doctor’s instructions, you are putting your body at risk and increasing the chances of causing bacterial resistance . That is, due to incorrect use, the antibiotic may not take effect if it is needed at another time.

Therefore, do not practice self-medication or abandon treatment before the time indicated by the professional. Because these factors can lead your body to bacterial resistance.

When using any type of medication it is important to take care and follow medical prescriptions. Especially in the case of antibiotics, considering that the misuse could (among other problems) make the organism more susceptible to the action of bacteria.

So, always seek guidance from a doctor to the appearance of any symptoms.

Keep following the Healthy Minute for more health information!