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Azithromycin is a generic antibiotic treatment indicated for various types of bacterial infection, including chlamydia.

PLEASE NOTE: As this treatment is a generic medicine, the brand of the product you receive may be different to the one shown in the picture.

If you’ve tested positive for chlamydia, you can order the treatment you need with our secure online consultation service. Take our questionnaire to have your request reviewed by a GMC-registered doctor or GPhC-registered prescriber.

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PLEASE NOTE: This treatment is not available through our online pharmacy service. This page is for information only. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to the condition(s) this medication treats, we strongly recommend that you see your GP in person.

This content was reviewed by a clinician on

26 April 2022
dr daniel

Dr Daniel Atkinson

(GP Clinical Lead - GMC No. 4624794) 26 April 2022
Product information

Azithromycin is an antibiotic medicine, containing an active ingredient of the same name. Following its development, it was marketed by Pfizer under the brand name Zithromax in the early 1990s. The medicine is employed by doctors to treat a range of bacterial infections. This includes chlamydia where other first-line treatments are unsuitable. It is a generic drug and therefore it may be supplied by the manufacturer in a box which is different to the one pictured above. 

At present, Azithromycin is a second-line treatment for chlamydia, which means that this is the medicine doctors will typically prescribe where the first line treatment, Doxycycline, is contraindicated. There is one other second line chlamydia treatment, which is not currently available through our online service, called Erythromycin.

In instances where Doxycycline, Azithromycin and Erythromycin are all unsuitable (for instance, if the patient has an allergy) then a doctor may suggest the next preferred third-line treatment, which is Ofloxacin

The most common sexually transmitted infection in the UK, there are over 100,000 cases of chlamydia reported to the NHS every year. The illness is caused by a bacteria called chlamydia trachomatis, and is passed from one person to another through unprotected sex.

Symptoms of chlamydia include pain, irregular vaginal or penile discharge, or increased menstrual bleeding in women; however it is thought that around three quarters of female cases and half of all male cases will be asymptomatic, producing no visible effects. This makes it doubly important to get tested if you have had unprotected with multiple partners, or think you may have come into contact with the disease.

As a macrolide antibiotic, Azithromycin works by combatting the bacterial cells responsible for spreading infection. These bacteria increase their number through self-reproduction. To do this, they must generate a protein, which facilitates the correct conditions for them to multiply. The antibiotic works by inhibiting the production of this protein. Once the bacteria can no longer develop its presence, it becomes susceptible to the body’s natural defences, which kill the infection.

For the the treatment of STIs and urethral infections, only one dose of Azithromycin may be needed.

Active Ingredient

The main agent in Azithromycin is an antibiotic substance of the same name. It belongs to the macrolide category within this medicine, and has a versatile range of uses in treating bacterial infections. It works by stopping the bacteria causing the infection from developing and spreading, which it does by interfering with the process of protein synthesis.

These bacteria require the generation of certain proteins, to be able to copy their genetic material and multiply. Once their capacity to do this has been inhibited, their growth pattern comes to a halt, and the immune system destroys what remains of the bacteria.

How to buy chlamydia treatment online

If you suspect that you may have chlamydia, you should go to your GP or local sexual health services (GUM clinic) to get tested as soon as possible. It’s important to remember that chlamydia doesn’t always cause symptoms, so even if you don’t notice anything wrong you should still get tested. You can also order a test kit online from our STI Test Kit page.

If you have received a positive test result for chlamydia and are unable to take Doxycycline (if you’re allergic to one of the ingredients, for example) then you may be able to buy Azithromycin online using our confidential service. Our service is staffed by registered prescribers, who will review your case. Once your order has been approved by them, it will be dispensed from our UK pharmacy and delivered by next-day courier.

Chlamydia treatment and test kit combination pack

Our UK pharmacy also offers a special pack containing both treatment and a home test kit for chlamydia. This is for people who:

  • have tested positive but want to take a test of cure two weeks after finishing treatment (which is generally recommended, to make sure the infection has gone); or:
  • haven’t been tested for chlamydia yet, but whose sexual partner has tested positive, and want to take a test before commencing treatment. And: 
  • are unable to take Doxycycline for medical reasons

If you’re using the combination pack because your partner has tested positive and you haven’t taken a test yet, it is absolutely essential that you collect your sample before taking the treatment. If you do test positive, you’ll need to inform any other recent sexual partners about your result.

Practicing sex after Azithromycin 

Once this course of treatment is finished, we recommend patients wait for three weeks and then complete a second chlamydia test to confirm all traces of the bacteria have been eradicated. Only after a second test confirms a negative results do we advise re-engaging in sexual activity. 

Page last reviewed:  26/04/2022


When you use this medicine, make sure you follow the instructions provided by your prescriber, and that you read the information leaflet supplied. Doing so will help to lower the risk of potential side effects, and enable you to get the best out of your medicine.

  1. Take as prescribed.
  2. You’ll get four 500mg tablets in total.
  3. On day one, take two tablets.
  4. On days two and three, take one tablet on each day.
  5. It’s best to take the tablets at the same time each day.
  6. If you’re ordering the combined treatment and test kit because your partner has tested positive for chlamydia (and you want to test before treatment), make sure you collect your sample before you take the first two tablets.
  7. If you’re ordering the test kit and treatment bundle because you want to do a test of cure following treatment, take the treatment first, and make sure you leave it for at least three weeks after finishing treatment to take your sample.
  8. Take Azithromycin with water.
  9. Never use more than the prescribed amount.
  10. Sexual intercourse (including oral sex) should be avoided 7 days after treatment with azithromycin.   

Consult the leaflet provided for more information.

If you are ordering the combined treatment and test kit pack because your partner has been diagnosed with chlamydia, you must collect your urine sample for the test BEFORE taking the medicine.


Page last reviewed:  26/04/2022
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:

Azithromycin 500mg

Azithromycin 500mg & Test Kit

Side effects & Warnings

Side effects

Only a minority of people using this treatment will experience side effects. Despite this, it remains important to be aware of the potential side effects the medicine may cause, so that you can seek treatment right away if necessary.

Very common (1 in 10 people or more):

Abdominal pain, diarrhoea, feeling sick.

Common (1 in 10 people or less):

Loss of appetite, dizziness, headache, pins and needles, sight or hearing problems, indigestion, skin irritation, joint pain.

Uncommon (1 in 100 people or less):

Fungal or bacterial infection, pharyngitis, breathlessness, chest pain, gastroenteritis, vaginitis, pneumonia, hypersensitivity, nervousness, drowsiness, insomnia, palpitations, facial flushing, constipation, hepatitis, allergic skin reactions, painful or difficult urination, fever.

Rare (1 in 1,000 people or less):

Agitation, kidney problems.

This is not a complete list of the side effects associated with this treatment. A more detailed account can be located in the patient information leaflet. If you notice any side effects of experience anything at all unusual while taking this medication, visit your nearest doctor or healthcare professional immediately.

Taking it with other medicines

You should inform your doctor during consultation of any other medicines you are currently using, as these may affect your suitability for this product.

Azithromycin may interact with the following: antacids, colchicine, ergotamine, statins, warfarin, cisapride, terfenadine, zidovudine, nelfinavir, rifabutin, quinidine, cyclosporin, alfentanil, theophylline, digoxin, astemizol and pimozide.

Conditions to look out for

Before taking this medicine, let your prescriber know if you have a history of any medical conditions, including: liver or kidney problems, gout, heart problems, low potassium or magnesium, myasthenia gravis, or nervous or mental illnesses.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless deemed absolutely necessary by a doctor. It is not suitable for use during breastfeeding. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive, speak to your doctor for specific advice.

Driving and using machinery

Do not drive or attempt to operate machines if you experience side effects such as dizziness, or anything which could inhibit your concentration.

Lactose intolerance

Tell your prescriber if you have any sugar intolerances, as this medication contains lactose.

Nut allergy

Some brands of azithromycin are not suitable for people with nut allergies. Let your prescriber know if you have an allergy to nuts, or anything else.

Page last reviewed:  26/04/2022
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:

Azithromycin 500mg

Azithromycin 500mg & Test Kit


Can I still drink alcohol?

Alcohol can interact with certain types of antibiotic. Despite there being no specific information available regarding the effect of alcohol on Azithromycin, we would recommend abstaining from drinking alcohol during its use.

Will I still be able to drive?

Your capacity to drive should not be affected. However, if you notice any side effects which may make doing so dangerous, do not drive and consult your nearest GP or hospital for advice.

Can I take the medicine while pregnant?

If you have tested positive for chlamydia and are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to get pregnant, we recommend you see your doctor in person.

How should I store it?

In a sealed, dry environment, under 25°C.

Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?

Do not use this product if you are allergic to any of the following: azithromycin, croscarmellose sodium (E468), magnesium stearate (E572), microcrystalline cellulose (E460), silicium dioxide, (E551), poloxamer, povidone (E1201), talc, waterfree lactose, chypromellose (E464), hydroxypropylcellulose, macrogol and titanium dioxide (E171).

Some versions of this medicine may not be suitable for people with nut allergies. 

When is it safe to have sex again?

Only after a second test for chlamydia has shown a negative result. A second test should be taken three weeks after the course of treatment has concluded. This wait time is to ensure all traces of the chlamydia bacteria have been completely eradicated. 

Is it available over-the-counter?

No. You can only buy Azithromycin in the UK if you have a prescription from a registered doctor.

Getting chlamydia treatment online

Please note that we can only provide treatment to patients who have had a positive test result for chlamydia and are unable to take doxycycline, the first line chlamydia treatment. If you haven’t been tested, we recommend you visit your nearest sexual health clinic as soon as possible.

Patients who have tested positive for chlamydia can buy their treatment online with our simple and secure service. Click ‘Buy now’ to proceed to our medical consultation and have your case reviewed by a doctor or prescriber. Approved orders are dispensed at our UK pharmacy and shipped by tracked courier.

Page last reviewed:  26/04/2022
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