In other strengths and forms beyond the 6-tablet Z-Pack, azithromycin is often prescribed to prevent or treat other conditions, including: The usual recommended prescription is a single 1 gram dose of azithromycin.
This makes azithromycin a handy companion to bring along on international travel. Azithromycin is much more efficient for these infections than another antibiotic, doxycycline, which you’d have to take for 7 days to get the same effect.
Chronic lung diseases: For folks with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), researchers found that daily 250 mg doses of azithromycin reduced episodes of exacerbations (sudden worsening symptoms) and improved quality of life. Azithromycin has also been found to reduce exacerbations and improve lung function in people with chronic bronchiectasis and cystic fibrosis.
For children, the dosing is typically based on their weight and what condition is being treated. Not completing your treatment can increase the risk that your infection returns and that the bacteria start becoming insensitive to azithromycin, known as antibiotic resistance.
However, a 2017 population-based study of over 14 million people found no increased risk of arrhythmia with azithromycin compared to another common antibiotic, amoxicillin. Good Rx is not sponsored by or affiliated with any of the pharmacies identified in its price comparisons. All trademarks, brands, logos and copyright images are property of their respective owners and rights holders and are used solely to represent the products of these rights holders.
Good Rx is not offering advice, recommending or endorsing any specific prescription drug, pharmacy or other information on the site. Z-Pack Antibiotics: What to Know If You're Prescribed Them | SELF Skip to main content Like many kids, I was plagued with regular strep throat infections.
Z-Pack antibiotics, we were told, were safe and effective at treating approximately a billion different conditions. A Z-Pack (also called a PAK, Max, or Zithromax) is literally just azithromycin, a standard antibiotic introduced in 1992, formulated in a package of six pills, which are taken over five days.
Other antibiotics may require multiple doses a day for 10 or 14 days at a time, Tara Vijaya, M.D., assistant clinical professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, tells SELF. They were “cheap, easy, cute, and they had a little marketing zing,” NEA Was, M.D., a family medicine physician at Cleveland Clinic, tells SELF.
But lots of things happened around Z-Packs over the last several years that made doctors realize that their prescribing practices weren’t quite right. The first big factor in the waning of Z-Pack popularity was that our developing understanding of antibiotic resistance made doctors wary about handing out Z-Packs so frequently for seemingly every minor health issue that might have a bacterial cause.
Antibiotic resistance, which the World Health Organization says is “one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today,” occurs when bacteria become resistant to the drugs we used to treat bacterial infections. At this point, research estimates that up to 98 percent of group A streptococcus (the bacteria that causes strep throat) are resistant to azithromycin worldwide, Dr. Vijaya says.
And, to be clear, Z-Packs do still come with many of the same side effects you’d expect with other antibiotics, Dr. Was says, including diarrhea and nausea. Many people, like me, grow up being told that they had some kind of rash or other vaguely bad reaction after getting penicillin treatment as a baby, which is very possibly true.
But people grow out of these sorts of reactions, Dr. Vijaya says, and doctors now appreciate just how exceptionally rare true penicillin allergies are. So, many of the people who took Z-Packs because they thought it was their only option may have been perfectly fine just getting the penicillin instead, making them even more egregiously over prescribed.
Considering what valuable and effective tools penicillin and its related antibiotics are (there are now many derivatives of penicillin that build on the original formulas to better target specific bacterial vulnerabilities), it would be a real shame to continue avoiding these first-line treatments due to unfounded concerns. We’ve also come to understand that there are shades of gray to the conventional wisdom of taking every last dose of your antibiotic, even if you feel better long before that, Dr. Vijaya says.
But there are other complexities here, Dr. Vijaya explains, like the fact that, in some cases, a shorter duration could actually reduce the likelihood of antibiotic resistance developing. Of course, you should always follow your doctor’s instructions for taking your antibiotics, but it’s OK to ask them about the recommended duration of treatment and how you should react if you start feeling better before you’re done.
A severe allergic reaction to similar drugs such as azithromycin, erythromycin, or erythromycin. Taking Zithromax PAK while breastfeeding may cause diarrhea, vomiting, or rash in the nursing baby.
This medicine should not be used to treat a throat or tonsil infection in a child younger than 2 years old. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets.
Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon). Use Zithromax PAK for the full prescribed length of time, even if your symptoms quickly improve.
Skipping doses can increase your risk of infection that is resistant to medication. Zithromax PAK will not treat a viral infection such as the flu or a common cold.
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning in your eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling). Seek medical treatment if you have a serious drug reaction that can affect many parts of your body.
Liver problems-- nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain (upper right side), tiredness, itching, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); Call your doctor right away if a baby taking Zithromax PAK becomes irritable or vomits while eating or nursing.
Other drugs may affect Zithromax PAK, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
PAK, also known as azithromycin or Zithromax, could be a critical tool in preventing and treating COVID-19 coronavirus, according to Professor Michael P. Anti, MD-PhD and Chair of Translational Medicine at Salford University in the UK. I recently spoke with Professor Anti to unpack his hypothesis and call for immediate clinical trials of PAK and other extremely inexpensive, generic antibiotics for COVID-19 patients.
Anti's lab goes on, “Clinically, it appears what is leading to fatalities in older patients is the very strong inflammatory reaction and the resulting fibrosis. PAK has made headlines after doctors around the world such as the widely publicized French clinic trials and New York and New Jersey physicians have found promising results on the front-lines of coronavirus using it in combination with another generic drug hydroxychloroquine.
“Azithromycin is known to stop the production of cytokines, a torrent of inflammatory mediators that trigger life-threatening lung inflammation in coronavirus patients. Other FDA-approved generic antibiotics such as doxycycline (which costs around 10 cents per dose) that target senescent cells could also be fruitful to study in clinical trials.
We need medical groups, philanthropists, and entrepreneurs to support and develop clinical trials using PAK and doxycycline to investigate treatment and prevention of COVID-19. If PAK or doxycycline alone or in combination can be clinically shown to fight coronavirus, it may be an easier protocol to scale since these antibiotics are extremely inexpensive and are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the world today.
For our historic fight with COVID-19, we must take action in pursuing clinical trials for these potentially revolutionary antibiotic therapies right under our noses.