Zithromax Side Effects

by on January 13, 2012


The most common side effects of Zithromax (Azithromycin) are nausea and headache. Severe side effects are rare. However, if you believe you are experiencing dangerous side effects to this medication, you should consult your doctor for an alternative treatment plan. If the medication is stopped abruptly, it may be ineffective for treating your infection.

Common Zithromax Side Effects

Zithromax side effects are relatively uncommon. Only about 1 percent of patients stopped taking the medication entirely due to adverse effects. The most common include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Vaginal discharge or itching
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Decreased sensitivity to taste and smell

In many cases, these side effects can be treated, making them manageable throughout the course of the medication.

Serious Zithromax Side Effects


Some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to Zithromax. If you have ever had an allergic reaction to azithromycin, erythromycin, telithromycin, clarithromycin or troleandomycin, you should not take this medication. If you believe you are having an allergic reaction, you should contact your doctor immediately. Side effects that may indicate an allergic reaction include:

  • Rash or hives
  • Itching
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tightness of the chest
  • Swelling on the face or throat

Rash, hives and itching may not necessarily indicate an allergic reaction as these can be side effects. However, the development of any skin condition in conjunction with this medication is considered a serious side effect and should be brought to the attention of a healthcare provider immediately. Other serious side effects include the following:

  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin (jaundice)
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Bloody stools
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Peeling skin
  • Swelling

Extremely rare side effects which occurred in less than 1 percent of the patients observed on the medication include the following:

  • Vertigo
  • Hepatitis
  • Kidney failure
  • Sensitivity to the sun
  • Dehydration
  • Oral and vaginal yeast infections
  • Lowered platelet count
  • Ringing of the ears
  • Low blood pressure

If any of the above side effects occur, you should consult your doctor for treatment. These effects may not be related to the drug, so it is important to examine the issue with your doctor and determine a course of action.

Sun Exposure

Increased sensitivity to the sun is one of the potential side effects of Zithromax. While taking azithromycin medications, it is best to avoid excess exposure to the sun. If you must be out in the sun, use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 and cover as much of your skin with clothing as possible. Your sensitivity to the sun may not be noticeable immediately, but could manifest in a painful sunburn later.

Pregnancy or Breastfeeding

Potential side effects in relation to pregnancy and breastfeeding are largely unknown. Zithromax is categorized as Category B medicine in regards to pregnancy. This means that is has not been studied in pregnancy but appears to have no adverse effects. Your healthcare provider can help you weigh the benefits and potential risks of the medication if you need to take it.

Zithromax is a safe and effective antibiotic treatment for most individuals. Azithromycin and Zithromax side effects are generally mild if they are noticed at all. Patients who take the single dose form of this medication may experience side effects so briefly that they cannot be conclusively linked to the medication. If you do experience strange Zithromax side effects, it is always important to consult your doctor for treatment or a change in medication.