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Updated May 29, 2014

Zithromax Basics:

Zithromax has to be one of the most convenient antibiotics that you can take and you may have taken a 5-day Zithromax Z-PAK yourself a time or two. The fact that you can also take just a three or one day course of zithromax makes it particularly popular with parents of children who don't like to take medicine.

What Zithromax Is Used For:

In children, Zithromax can be used to treat acute otitis media (ear infections), community acquired pneumonia, and pharyngitis or tonsillitis caused by Streptococcus pyogenes (strep throat). Keep in mind that zithromax is not usually considered to be a first line antibiotic though. For example, penicillin should usually be used for strep throat, and zithromax is used only if a child is allergic to penicillin. And the AAP recommends Amoxil as the first line drug for ear infections.

Zithromax Facts:

Zithromax is often used off-label for many other mild to moderate Pediatric infections that are caused by susceptible bacteria, including sinus infections (sinusitis), Cat Scratch Disease, chronic bronchitis with a secondary bacterial infection, walking pneumonia, and pertussis.

Other facts about Amoxil:

  • the trade name for zithromax is azithromycin

  • Zithromax is a type of macrolide antibiotic

  • Zithromax is a good choice for children who are allergic to penicillin

  • Zithromax can be taken either with or without food

  • although the suspension is not generic yet, it is actually a little less expensive than many other brand name antibiotics and usually retails for just under $40

Forms Of Zithromax:

  • Zithromax for oral suspension, which when treating ear infections, can be given as a large one time dose (30mg/kg), once a day for 3 days (10mg/kg/day), or once a day for 5 days
  • Zithromax Z-Pak 250mg tablets (5 day course)
  • Zithromax Tri-Pak 500mg tablets (3 day course)

Zithromax Side Effects:

For children taking a 5-day course of Zithromax, the most common side effects include diarrhea and loose stools, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, and rash. When children take the larger one time dose, side effects were the same, but the incidence of vomiting and diarrhea were higher. Like other antibiotics, zithromax can also rarely cause allergic reactions. See the full prescribing information sheet for a list of all known side effects.

Who Should Not Take Zithromax:

Children with a known hypersensitivity or allergy to zithromax, erythromycin or any other macrolide antibiotic should not take Zithromax.

What You Need To Know:

Although approved for use in children, the 'safety and effectiveness in the treatment of pediatric patients' ... 'under 6 months of age have not been established' for zithromax.

Other important information:

  • talk to your Pediatrician and pharmacist about possible drug interactions if your child is taking other medications
  • although very convenient if your child can take it, the very big downside of the one time dose of Zithromax is that if your child vomits right away, you will likely need to get a new prescription
  • multiple generic versions of azithromycin 250mg, 500mg, and 600mg tablets were recently approved by the FDA


  • Zithromax Prescribing Information Sheet. January 2004.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Practice Guideline - Diagnosis and Management of Acute Otitis Media. PEDIATRICS Vol. 113 No. 5 May 2004, pp. 1451-1465.

Created on: November 26, 2005.

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