Antibiotics: Do You Need a Prescription for Azithromycin? 

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Do You Need a Prescription for Azithromycin? Doctors prescribe the macrolide antibiotic azithromycin for a wide variety of bacterial infections. It’s one of the most prescribed remedies to stop bacteria from multiplying.

However, the medication is unavailable over the counter (OTC) in the United States. Since it’s a prescription drug, doctors must prescribe it to their patients before the latter can purchase the medication.

This article will discuss everything you need to know about azithromycin, from its function to effectiveness to potential risks. Ultimately, the goal is to help you understand why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates this medicine.

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What Is Azithromycin (Zithromax)?

Azithromycin falls under the class of drugs called macrolide — medicine typically used to treat acute and chronic infections. It stops bacteria from producing particular proteins that enable the organisms to multiply. This property makes azithromycin effective against many “atypical” bacteria such as chlamydiae, legionella, mycoplasma, and mycobacteria. For this reason, it works well on particular conditions, including bronchitis, pneumonia, and ear, skin, and throat infections.

Patients cannot legally purchase it without a doctor’s prescription. However, they can buy the medication by its generic name, azithromycin, or other brand names, such as Zithromax. Also, when prescribed in a specific dose pack, consumers can purchase it as Zithromax Z-pak.

The FDA has approved its use for children and adults. Nowadays, patients can buy azithromycin capsules, tablets, oral liquids, and injections.

Contrary to popular belief, azithromycin is ineffective against colds, flu, and other viral infections. Also, health care specialists found a minimal meaningful benefit to using azithromycin in Coronavirus patients. Note that antibiotic misuse boosts the risk of getting an infection later that resists treatment.

What Is Azithromycin (Zithromax) Used For?

Azithromycin — which patients can buy as Zithromax or Z-Pak — is an antibiotic that treats bacterial infection. Typically, doctors prescribe using it over a five-day treatment period. When the FDA first approved azithromycin in 1991, specialists started using it for specific respiratory and skin infections. However, the list has since then grown to include several bacterial diseases, including:

  • Bacterial endocarditis prophylaxis
  • Campylobacter gastroenteritis
  • Granuloma inguinale
  • Lyme disease
  • Myasthenia gravis (MG)
  • Nongonococcal urethritis
  • Inflammation of the middle ear
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Sinusitis

Please call a reliable healthcare provider at (469) 498 6868 for more information about using azithromycin for these conditions.

How Effective Is Azithromycin?

Azithromycin can cure various conditions, making it one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics in the country. With the proper use and dosage, it can be effective against the following illnesses:

Chlamydia: A recent study shares that azithromycin is 97% effective against this disease. A single dose of this antibiotic is as safe and effective as a seven-day doxycycline treatment plan.

Early syphilis: One study proves that a two-gram dose of azithromycin is 95% effective against the condition. Like penicillin, it shows promise in treating early syphilis symptoms.

Typhoid fever: In one uncomplicated typhoid fever study involving children, global investigators and subjects demonstrated a 95% azithromycin efficacy. A total of 109 patients completed the research process.

Strep throat: One study shows that azithromycin is 91% effective against the infection. It works almost as well as penicillin against the condition.

Pneumonia: Specialists discovered that azithromycin is 88% effective against this condition in a controlled setting. However, it was ineffective against the three cases of adenoviral pneumonia.

If you’re wondering: Do you need a prescription for azithromycin? The answer is yes, you do. You can contact a healthcare professional online through DrAlexa if you need a prescription or more information about the antibiotic.

What Infections Can Azithromycin Treat Effectively?

Azithromycin is effective against various bacterial infections, like the ones listed below.

Acute bronchitis: Doctors may prescribe various antibiotics for bronchitis infections, such as phenoxymethylpenicillin, dicloxacillin, and amoxicillin. However, azithromycin is the preferred medication for acute bronchitis.

Community-acquired pneumonia: There are different types of pneumonia, and doctors won’t recommend azithromycin for all of them. However, it’s effective against community-acquired pneumonia — a kind obtained outside a hospital setting.

Mycobacterium avium complex infection: A group of bacteria causes this potentially life-threatening infection in patients with compromised immune systems. Azithromycin helps control the spread of these organisms, especially in individuals with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Ear infections: Otitis media is the term experts use for middle ear infections caused by bacteria. Azithromycin is an ideal treatment for uncomplicated cases, especially for patients allergic to first-line antibiotics.

Chlamydia: This condition is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Patients showing chlamydia symptoms should request an online consultation immediately because delayed treatment may cause infertility or PID.

Doctors may also recommend azithromycin for Lyme disease, cervicitis, and pharyngitis. However, cefuroxime, doxycycline, and penicillin are the preferred treatment options in these cases.

Azithromycin (Zithromax) Dosage Forms

Azithromycin comes in many forms, dosages, and strengths. Therefore, when prescribing this antibiotic, specialists consider a patient’s age, sickness, and pre-existing health conditions. They will also ask about an individual’s current medications to avoid possible drug interactions.

Below are some of the most common dosage forms of azithromycin:

  • Tablets: Available in 250 mg and 500 mg variants
  • Oral liquids: Sold in 100 mg or 200 mg variants per 5 mL
  • Extended-release suspension: Typically offered as a single-dose 2000 mg form
  • Zithromax injection: Often used in a 10 mL vial of 500 mg

The FDA regulates azithromycin because it contains properties that may affect the heart’s electrical activity. Patients should follow their prescriptions religiously to achieve desired results and prevent unwanted side effects.

For instance, treating community-acquired pneumonia often requires 500 mg of azithromycin on the first day of treatment and then 250 mg for the next two to four days. Such information is usually available on the patient information leaflet in the drug packet.

Unlike other antibiotics that take two weeks to take full effect, the drug takes only one to five days to work. Patients should not take the medication longer than what the doctor prescribes.

On the other hand, they should also complete their medication regimen to prevent antibiotic resistance.

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Can I Buy Azithromycin Online?

Yes, you can buy azithromycin online. However, you will still need a prescription from a licensed physician in your state. Naturally, the process begins with a consultation.

The fastest way to get one is through a reliable telemedicine provider. Nowadays, you don’t have to visit a doctor’s office for all your medical needs.

For instance, at DrAlexa, patients can get affordable online doctor visits starting from $29, even without insurance. In addition, you can request consultations, medication refills, and even lab tests from the comfort of their home.

At DrAlexa, individuals suffering from bacterial conditions can see a doctor online, request a prescription, and get their medications from 500 pharmacies. With over one million satisfied clients and a 4.9-star rating, there’s no doubt it’s one of the best telemedicine providers in Texas.

Do You Need a Prescription for Azithromycin?

Yes, you need a prescription for azithromycin. It’s a prescription drug in the United States, which means a doctor should prescribe tablets, capsules, oral liquids, or injections before you can purchase them from a hospital or pharmacy.

Why Do You Need a Prescription for Azithromycin?

The FDA regulates this drug, which is currently unavailable over the counter in the country. For more information about the medication, visit the Azithromycin – Medline page.

Should I See a Doctor Before Taking Azithromycin?

Yes, you should see a doctor before taking azithromycin for three reasons.

First, it’s a prescription drug, and no hospital or pharmacy will release these medications without a prescription from your doctor.

Next, it might be one of the most prescribed drugs in the country, but it contains properties that may impact the heart.

Lastly, patients should take the proper dosage and complete all the required doses. Otherwise, the medicine might not work, the patient may experience side effects, or the body may develop antibiotic resistance. Call (469) 498 6868 now to schedule a consultation online with a Texas doctor near you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are some of the questions commonly asked about azithromycin.

No, you cannot get Zithromax or azithromycin over the counter in the United States. It’s a prescription drug in the country, so patients should see a doctor and request a prescription before buying the antibiotic.

The FDA initially approved using azithromycin in 1991, and it has been a prescription drug since then. There are no signs indicating a change in its drug class.

Azithromycin use depends on many factors, including the patient’s age, disease, and pre-existing health condition. A daily 500mg dose should last between three to ten days.

However, it’s best to consult your doctor about taking azithromycin. Taking the wrong dosage or drinking it longer than necessary can lead to harmful side effects. In addition, not completing your regimen may lead to antibiotic resistance.

Doctors usually recommend taking azithromycin once a day, at the same time if possible.

Patients should swallow tablets whole with a sip of water. It’s best to take them at least one hour before meals or two hours after eating. After that, it’s okay to take them with or without food.

There is no need to worry if you accidentally take azithromycin twice a day. Doing so is not likely going to harm you or your nursing baby. However, taking twice your required dose daily boosts the chances of temporary side effects, including nausea, diarrhea, or dizziness. Contact your pharmacist or doctor if you experience severe reactions to the medication. 

Azithromycin may be an effective treatment against bacterial diseases, but it contains ingredients that affect the heart. For this reason, it’s never a good idea to prolong your recommended treatment time.

Patients who take too much azithromycin may inadvertently damage their heart or liver. Call a doctor immediately if you or anyone you know took a higher dosage or continued taking the drug after the prescribed period.

The content on Doctor Alexa’s blog is reviewed by Advanced practice registered nurses or pharmacist and is intended for educational purposes only. This information should not be relied upon as professional medical counsel. Be sure to always consult with your physician about the dangers and benefits of any medication, treatment or procedure.

You shouldn’t wait to see the doctor for simple health needs.