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

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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.

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, including chlamydia.

  1. Easy to use tablet medication
  2. Single dose treatment for chlamydia

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 intercrouse.

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.

Please note that we do not provide this treatment through our site. If you think you have come into contact with chlamydia, you should visit your nearest GUM clinic to get tested as soon as possible.

Page last reviewed:  02/02/2018


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. For chlamydia, this might be a one-off dose of 1000mg (2 x 500mg tablets).
  3. Ensure you swallow the tablets whole. Do not chew them or break them up.
  4. Take Azithromycin with water.
  5. Never use more than the prescribed amount.

Consult the leaflet provided for more information.

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Page last reviewed:  02/02/2018
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:

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, 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, 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:  02/02/2018
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:


Can I still drinking 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?

Do not take Azithromycin while pregnant or breastfeeding unless your doctor thinks you absolutely need to.

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. 

Is it available over-the-counter?

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

Is it right for me?

The treatment you use will be determined during consultation with your doctor. They will issue an antibiotic following a positive test result, or before on occasion if they strongly suspect infection is present.

Please note we do not sell this medicine through our site. Visit your nearest GUM clinic if you think you might have come into contact with an STI. They will able to conduct tests and issue treatment where necessary.


Page last reviewed:  02/02/2018
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