"CDC began working with the World Health Organization (WHO) in late February 2003 to investigate and confirm outbreaks of an unusual pneumonia in Southeast Asia. By the time WHO issued a global alert cautioning that the severe respiratory illness "...
In clinical trials of intravenous azithromycin for community-acquired pneumonia, in which 2-5 I.V. doses were given, most of the reported side effects were mild to moderate in severity and were reversible upon discontinuation of the drug. The majority of patients in these trials had one or more co-morbid diseases and were receiving concomitant medications. Approximately 1.2% of the patients discontinued intravenous ZITHROMAX therapy, and a total of 2.4% discontinued azithromycin therapy by either the intravenous or oral route because of clinical or laboratory side effects.
In clinical trials conducted in patients with pelvic inflammatory disease, in which 1-2 I.V. doses were given, 2% of women who received monotherapy with azithromycin and 4% who received azithromycin plus metronidazole discontinued therapy due to clinical side effects.
Clinical side effects leading to discontinuations from these studies were most commonly gastrointestinal (abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), and rashes; laboratory side effects leading to discontinuation were increases in transaminase levels and/or alkaline phosphatase levels.
Overall, the most common side effects associated with treatment in adult patients who received I.V./P.O. ZITHROMAX in studies of community-acquired pneumonia were related to the gastrointestinal system with diarrhea/loose stools (4.3%), nausea (3.9%), abdominal pain (2.7%), and vomiting (1.4%) being the most frequently reported. Approximately 12% of patients experienced a side effect related to the intravenous infusion; most common were pain at the injection site (6.5%) and local inflammation (3.1%).
The most common side effects associated with treatment in adult women who received I.V./P.O. ZITHROMAX in studies of pelvic inflammatory disease were related to the gastrointestinal system. Diarrhea (8.5%) and nausea (6.6%) were most commonly reported, followed by vaginitis (2.8%), abdominal pain (1.9%), anorexia (1.9%), rash and pruritus (1.9%). When azithromycin was co-administered with metronidazole in these studies, a higher proportion of women experienced side effects of nausea (10.3%), abdominal pain (3.7%), vomiting (2.8%), application site reaction, stomatitis, dizziness, or dyspnea (all at 1.9%).
No other side effects occurred in patients on the multiple dose I.V./P.O. regimen of ZITHROMAX in these studies with a frequency greater than 1%.
Side effects that occurred with a frequency of 1% or less included the following:
Nervous System: headache, somnolence.
Allergic: bronchospasm. Special Senses: taste perversion.
Adverse events reported with azithromycin during the post-marketing period in adult and/or pediatric patients for which a causal relationship may not be established include:
Gastrointestinal: Anorexia, constipation, dyspepsia, flatulence, vomiting/diarrhea rarely resulting in dehydration, pseudomembranous colitis, pancreatitis, oral candidiasis, pyloric stenosis, and rare reports of tongue discoloration.
Liver/Biliary: Adverse reactions related to hepatic dysfunction have been reported in postmarketing experience with azithromycin. (See WARNINGS, Hepatotoxicity.)
Psychiatric: Aggressive reaction and anxiety.
Significant abnormalities (irrespective of drug relationship) occurring during the clinical trials were reported as follows:
with an incidence of 4-6%, elevated ALT (SGPT), AST (SGOT), creatinine
with an incidence of 1-3%, elevated LDH, bilirubin
with an incidence of less than 1%, leukopenia, neutropenia, decreased platelet count, and elevated serum alkaline phosphatase
When follow-up was provided, changes in laboratory tests appeared to be reversible.
In multiple-dose clinical trials involving more than 750 patients treated with ZITHROMAX (I.V./P.O.), less than 2% of patients discontinued azithromycin therapy because of treatment-related liver enzyme abnormalities.
Read the Zithromax Injection (azithromycin) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects
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 co-administered with any of these 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 - elevated concentrations.
Laboratory Test Interactions
There are no reported laboratory test interactions.
Read the Zithromax Injection Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions
Last reviewed on RxList: 12/6/2011
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Zithromax Injection Information
- Zithromax Injection Drug Interactions Center: azithromycin iv
- Zithromax Injection Side Effects Center
- Zithromax Injection Overview including Precautions
- Zithromax Injection FDA Approved Prescribing Information including Dosage
Zithromax Injection - User Reviews
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