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Macrolides (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, Erythromycin)

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:

Macrolides (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, Erythromycin) - What is it for

​Macrolides are a class of antibiotics used to treat or prevent bacterial infections. It is commonly used for respiratory tract, skin and soft tissue, H. pylori and sexually transmitted infections. 

Macrolides (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, Erythromycin) - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Macrolides (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, Erythromycin) cause?

Common side effects include:

Nausea/vomiting, stomach discomfort, diarrhoea

  • Take the medication with or after food.
  • If diarrhoea occurs, drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
  • If you experience persistent diarrhoea, stomach pain or bloody stools, do seek medical advice immediately.

Allergic Reaction

  • Symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following: swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue, difficulty  breathing and skin rashes over your whole body.

Liver Injury

  • Very rarely, this medication may affect the liver. Signs of liver injury include yellowing of the eye whites or skin, darkened urine, light coloured stools, stomach pain, loss of appetite and feeling tired.

Abnormal or fast heartbeats

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

Before taking Macrolides (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, Erythromycin), what precautions must I follow?

​Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication
  • You have myasthenia gravis (a disease that causes muscle weakness)
  • You ever had heart issues ​e.g. abnormal heartbeats or prolonged QT on ECG
  • You are taking medications to treat abnormal heartbeats
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
  • You are taking any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Macrolides (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, Erythromycin)?

​Macrolides may affect the levels of other medications in your body. Inform your healthcare providers if you are on long term medications for additional advice.

Macrolides (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, Erythromycin) - Dosage and How to Use

How should Macrolides (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, Erythromycin) be used?

  • ​You should complete each course of antibiotics even if you feel better. Incomplete treatment might cause the infection to return or lead to antibiotic resistance. When antibiotic resistance happens, the antibiotic will not be effective anymore.
  • For Azithromycin, Clarithromycin and Erythromycin Suspension (Erythromycin Ethyl succinate): Take with or without food.
  • For Erythromycin Tablets (Erythromycin Stearate): Take on an empty stomach, half to one hour before food.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

​If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Then take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take two doses to make up for the missed dose.

What should I do if I overdose?

Macrolides (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, Erythromycin) - Handling

How should I handle Macrolides (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, Erythromycin) safely?

Macrolides (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, Erythromycin) - Storage

How should I store Macrolides (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, Erythromycin)?

Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#

​Erythromycin and Clarithromycin Suspension: Follow the storage and expiry date as stated on the bottle or as advised by your healthcare professionals.

How should I dispose of Macrolides (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, Erythromycin) safely?

​Please return any unused or expired antibiotics to the pharmacy where you received it from.

Macrolides (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, Erythromycin) - Additional Information

  • Updated on Saturday, July 31, 2021
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup PSS National Medication Information Workgroup

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