AZITHROMYCIN- azithromycin dihydrate tablet, film coated
Azithromycin tablets are macrolide antibacterial drug indicated for the treatment of patients with mild to moderate infections caused by susceptible strains of the designated microorganisms in the specific conditions listed below.
Prophylaxis of Disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) Disease
Azithromycin tablets, taken alone or in combination with rifabutin at its approved dose, are indicated for the prevention of disseminated MAC disease in persons with advanced HIV infection [see Dosage and Administration ( 2)].
Treatment of Disseminated MAC Disease
Azithromycin tablets, taken in combination with ethambutol, are indicated for the treatment of disseminated MAC infections in persons with advanced HIV infection [see Use in Specific Populations ( 8.4) and Clinical Studies ( 14.1)].
To reduce the development of drug-resistant bacteria and maintain the effectiveness of azithromycin and other antibacterial drugs, azithromycin tablets should be used only to treat infections that are proven or strongly suspected to be caused by susceptible bacteria. When culture and susceptibility information are available, they should be considered in selecting or modifying antibacterial therapy. In the absence of such data, local epidemiology and susceptibility patterns may contribute to the empiric selection of therapy.
[see Indications and Usage ( 1)]
Azithromycin tablets can be taken with or without food. However, increased tolerability has been observed when tablets are taken with food.
For pediatric suspension see the prescribing information for azithromycin for oral suspension 100 mg/5 mL and 200 mg/5 mL bottles.
Prevention of Disseminated MAC Infections
The recommended dose of azithromycin tablets for the prevention of disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) disease is: 1,200 mg taken once weekly. This dose of azithromycin tablets may be combined with the approved dosage regimen of rifabutin.
Treatment of Disseminated MAC Infections
Azithromycin tablets should be taken at a daily dose of 600 mg, in combination with ethambutol at the recommended daily dose of 15 mg/kg. Other antimycobacterial drugs that have shown in vitro activity against MAC may be added to the regimen of azithromycin plus ethambutol at the discretion of the physician or health care provider.
Azithromycin tablets, USP 600 mg are supplied as white, oblong, biconvex, film-coated tablets, debossed with “600” on one side, containing azithromycin dihydrate, USP equivalent to 600 mg azithromycin. These are packaged in bottles of 30 tablets.
Azithromycin is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to azithromycin, erythromycin, any macrolide, or ketolide drug.
Azithromycin is contraindicated in patients with a history of cholestatic jaundice/hepatic dysfunction associated with prior use of azithromycin.
Serious allergic reactions, including angioedema, anaphylaxis, and dermatologic reactions including Acute Generalized Exanthematous Pustulosis (AGEP), Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, and toxic epidermal necrolysis, have been reported rarely in patients on azithromycin therapy. [see Contraindications ( 4.1)]
Fatalities have been reported. Cases of Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS) have also been reported. Despite initially successful symptomatic treatment of the allergic symptoms, when symptomatic therapy was discontinued, the allergic symptoms recurred soon thereafter in some patients without further azithromycin exposure. These patients required prolonged periods of observation and symptomatic treatment. The relationship of these episodes to the long tissue half-life of azithromycin and subsequent prolonged exposure to antigen is presently unknown.
If an allergic reaction occurs, the drug should be discontinued and appropriate therapy should be instituted. Physicians should be aware that allergic symptoms may reappear when symptomatic therapy is discontinued.
Abnormal liver function, hepatitis, cholestatic jaundice, hepatic necrosis, and hepatic failure have been reported, some of which have resulted in death. Discontinue azithromycin immediately if signs and symptoms of hepatitis occur.
Following the use of azithromycin in neonates (treatment up to 42 days of life), IHPS has been reported. Direct parents and caregivers to contact their physician if vomiting or irritability with feeding occurs.
Prolonged cardiac repolarization and QT interval, imparting a risk of developing cardiac arrhythmia and torsades de pointes, have been seen with treatment with macrolides, including azithromycin. Cases of torsades de pointes have been spontaneously reported during postmarketing surveillance in patients receiving azithromycin. Providers should consider the risk of QT prolongation which can be fatal when weighing the risks and benefits of azithromycin for at-risk groups including:
- patients with known prolongation of the QT interval, a history of torsades de pointes, congenital long QT syndrome, bradyarrhythmias or uncompensated heart failure
- patients on drugs known to prolong the QT interval
- patients with ongoing proarrhythmic conditions such as uncorrected hypokalemia or hypomagnesemia, clinically significant bradycardia, and in patients receiving Class IA (quinidine, procainamide) or Class III (dofetilide, amiodarone, sotalol) antiarrhythmic agents.
Elderly patients may be more susceptible to drug-associated effects on the QT interval.
CDAD has been reported with use of nearly all antibacterial agents, including azithromycin, and may range in severity from mild diarrhea to fatal colitis. Treatment with antibacterial agents alters the normal flora of the colon, leading to overgrowth of C. difficile.
C. difficile produces toxins A and B which contribute to the development of CDAD. Hypertoxin - producing strains of C. difficile cause increased morbidity and mortality, as these infections can be refractory to antibacterial therapy and may require colectomy. CDAD must be considered in all patients who present with diarrhea following antibiotic use. Careful medical history is necessary since CDAD has been reported to occur over two months after the administration of antibacterial agents.
If CDAD is suspected or confirmed, ongoing antibiotic use not directed against C. difficile may need to be discontinued. Appropriate fluid and electrolyte management, protein supplementation, antibiotic treatment of C. difficile , and surgical evaluation should be instituted as clinically indicated.
Exacerbations of symptoms of myasthenia gravis and new onset of myasthenic syndrome have been reported in patients receiving azithromycin therapy.
Prescribing azithromycin in the absence of a proven or strongly suspected bacterial infection or a prophylactic indication is unlikely to provide benefit to the patient and increases the risk of the development of drug-resistant bacteria.
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.
In clinical trials, most of the reported adverse reactions were mild to moderate in severity and were reversible upon discontinuation of the drug. Approximately 0.7% of the patients from the multiple-dose clinical trials discontinued azithromycin therapy because of treatment‑related adverse reactions. Serious adverse reactions included angioedema and cholestatic jaundice. Most of the adverse reactions leading to discontinuation were related to the gastrointestinal tract, e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. [see Clinical Studies ( 14.1)]
Overall, the most common adverse reactions in adult patients receiving a multiple-dose regimen of azithromycin were related to the gastrointestinal system with diarrhea/loose stools (5%), nausea (3%), and abdominal pain (3%) being the most frequently reported.
No other adverse reactions occurred in patients on the multiple-dose regimen of azithromycin with a frequency greater than 1%. Adverse reactions that occurred with a frequency of 1% or less included the following:
Cardiovascular: Palpitations and chest pain.
Gastrointestinal: Dyspepsia, flatulence, vomiting, melena, and cholestatic jaundice.
Genitourinary: Monilia, vaginitis, and nephritis.
Nervous System: Dizziness, headache, vertigo, and somnolence.
Allergic: Rash, photosensitivity, and angioedema.
Chronic therapy with 1,200 mg weekly regimen
The nature of adverse reactions seen with the 1,200 mg weekly dosing regimen for the prevention of Mycobacterium avium infection in severely immunocompromised HIV-infected patients were similar to those seen with short-term dosing regimens. [see Clinical Studies ( 14)]
Chronic therapy with 600 mg daily regimen combined with ethambutol
The nature of adverse reactions seen with the 600 mg daily dosing regimen for the treatment of Mycobacterium avium complex infection in severely immunocompromised HIV-infected patients were similar to those seen with short term dosing regimens. Five percent of patients experienced reversible hearing impairment in the pivotal clinical trial for the treatment of disseminated MAC in patients with AIDS. Hearing impairment has been reported with macrolide antibiotics, especially at higher doses. Other treatment-related adverse reactions occurring in > 5% of subjects and seen at any time during a median of 87.5 days of therapy include: abdominal pain (14%), nausea (14%), vomiting (13%), diarrhea (12%), flatulence (5%), headache (5%), and abnormal vision (5%). Discontinuations from treatment due to laboratory abnormalities or adverse reactions considered related to study drug occurred in 8 of 88 (9.1%) of subjects.
Single 1 gram dose regimen
Overall, the most common adverse reactions in patients receiving a single-dose regimen of 1 gram of azithromycin were related to the gastrointestinal system and were more frequently reported than in patients receiving the multiple-dose regimen.
Adverse reactions that occurred in patients on the single 1 gram dosing regimen of azithromycin with a frequency of 1% or greater included diarrhea/loose stools (7%), nausea (5%), abdominal pain (5%), vomiting (2%), dyspepsia (1%), and vaginitis (1%).
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