Azithromycin Side Effects
Among the common side effects of azithromycin are an unexplained rash, abdominal pain (or stomach pain), headache, and vomiting. Some rare side effects include kidney failure, constipation, and allergic reactions. There are also some azithromycin side effects that can indicate something serious. A few of these side effects include severe or watery diarrhea, abnormal swelling, and peeling of skin.
As with any medicine, there are possible side effects with azithromycin (Zithromax®). Yet not everyone who takes azithromycin will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate the medicine well. When people do develop side effects, in most cases they are minor, meaning they require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider. In previous research studies, up to 1 percent of adults or children stopped taking azithromycin because of side effects.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with azithromycin. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of azithromycin side effects with you.)
Azithromycin has been studied extensively in clinical trials, with thousands of people worldwide having been evaluated. In these studies, side effects are always documented and compared to those that occur in a similar group of people not taking the medicine. This way, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group not taking the medicine.
Based on these studies, the most common azithromycin side effects include:
- Nausea -- up to 5 percent
- Loose stools or diarrhea -- up to 7 percent
- Vomiting -- up to 7 percent
- Abdominal pain (or stomach pain) -- up to 3 percent
- Headache -- up to 1 percent
- Unexplained rash -- up to 2 percent.
The likelihood of these side effects varied based on the drug dose and how it was taken.