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What Factors Affect a Sufficient Azithromycin Dose?

By Lynelle Harmon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Azithromycin is a type of antibiotic called a macrolide antibiotic. It can be used to treat bacterial infections. A sufficient azithromycin dose depends on the condition being treated, the age of the patient and the route of administration.

A standard adult azithromycin dose includes five days of oral medications. The first day requires 500 milligrams taken orally. The dosage drops to 250 milligrams per day for the remaining four days. This dosage usually is enough to treat upper respiratory infection, bronchitis, pneumonia and tonsillitis.

Adult dosage for sinusitis requires 500 milligrams orally for three days. The treatment for cervicitis and chancroid require a one-time, 1-gram oral dosage. A seven-day treatment for typhoid fever involves 1,000 milligrams on the first day and 500 milligrams per day for the rest of the week.

Intravenous (IV) azithromycin dosage might be prescribed for adult patients. A 500-milligram IV for two days might be prescribed for severe mycoplasma pneumonia, to be followed by an oral dosage regimen of 250 milligrams for four days. Legionella pneumonia follows a similar dosage, with the oral medications continuing for as long as 10 days. Pelvic inflammatory disease follows its IV treatment with a week of oral pills.

Oral suspensions typically replace pills in prescriptions for children who are more than 6 months old. The medication typically is not prescribed for children who are younger than 6 months. A standard azithromycin dose for a child is 10 milligrams per 2.2 pounds (1 kg) once per day for three days. This dose might be prescribed for pneumonia and sinusitis.

An azithromycin dose in pill form might be prescribed to older children for certain conditions. Cystic fibrosis treatment might require 250 milligrams orally three times a week for children who are more than 6 years old. Older children, such as teenagers, might request that the doctor prescribes the pill form of the medication for conditions for which the oral suspension is normally prescribed.

Drug interactions may cause a doctor to alter an azithromycin dose. Some drugs that commonly interact with azithromycin include anticoagulant medications and immune system suppressant drugs. Side effects also can change the drug therapy. Common azithromycin side effects include stomach upset, diarrhea and mild rash. Serious side effects include difficulty breathing and swelling of the face or hands.

A patient should always keep his or her doctor updated on how the azithromycin treatment is working. Individual factors in a person's genetics can affect the effectiveness of a medication. This is called pharmacogenetics, and it can involve anatomical problems of which neither the patient nor doctor was previously aware.

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Discussion Comments
By candyquilt — On Oct 03, 2013

I'm on an azithromycin 5 day Z-pack for a respiratory infection. I was on the 3 day pack (500mg/day) but my symptoms didn't go away, so now I'm on the 5 day pack. I hope it works because it's the same dose, just over a longer period of time. If it doesn't work, I will have to try something else.

By bear78 — On Oct 02, 2013

@fify-- I'm not a doctor or anything, but I have taken azithromycin for chlamydia before.

The typical azithromycin dose for chlamydia is 1 gram or 1000 milligrams. The medication is taken as a one time dose. So if you have 250mg tablets, you would take four of them at the same time. This one time treatment is enough to cure most people, but there is a chance that it might not work. So you will need to be tested again in one month to make sure that you are treated. The single dose worked for me.

I'm guessing that you have been tested and was diagnosed with chlamydia. Do not take medications without diagnosis and approval of a doctor or you might make things worse.

By fify — On Oct 02, 2013

What is the typical dose of azithromycin for chlamydia? I'm in the Philippines right now and I got the medication from the pharmacy but I couldn't communicate with the pharmacist so I'm not sure how much to take and for how long.

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