Amoxicillin vs Azithromycin: Here Is Everything You Need To Know

Amoxicillin vs Azithromycin: Here Is Everything You Need To Know
Published : Oct 14, 2023
Last Updated : Feb 14, 2024

Have you ever suffered from a bacterial sinus infection or other infectious disease? If yes, your doctor must have recommended an antibiotic.

You need to know that Azithromycin and Amoxicillin are two common antibiotics. You prescribe these medicines to treat bacterial infections. Antibiotics are prescription drugs that treat only bacterial infections. They do not work for viral infections like the common cold, flu, or Covid-19.

The two most commonly prescribed antibiotics nowadays are Amoxicillin and Azithromycin. Both are prescription medications; you should take them only under the healthcare provider's advice. However, before you start the treatment with these medications, it is vital to understand them first.

What is Amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin is available on the market by its brand name, Amoxil. It belongs to a class of drugs called penicillin antibiotics.

Amoxicillin works in your body by preventing bacteria from forming cell walls, which further kills the bacteria. You may take amoxicillin to treat bacterial infections like pneumonia, throat, and ear infections.

What is Azithromycin?

You can find Azithromycin in the market under the brand name Zithromax. You may also have heard of Zithromax Z-pak, the brand name for azithromycin. It belongs to the class of medicines called Macrolide Antibiotics. Azithromycin works in the body by binding to bacteria. It stops the bacteria from producing proteins required to survive. 

Doctors prescribed Azithromycin to treat bacterial infections like pneumonia, sinus infections, and some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

You need to know that Azithromycin and Amoxicillin are FDA-approved medications in the United States. Though both medicines are antibiotics, they have several differences. In this blog, you will learn about Amoxicillin and Azithromycin in detail.

Amoxicillin and Azithromycin: What are the differences?

Amoxicillin is a penicillin antibiotic you can buy under the name of Amoxil. However, you will not find Amoxil commercially because this medicine is only available in the generic form.  

You need to know that Amoxicillin is usually prescribed as Amoxicillin capsules. It may also contain a combination of medicines like clavulanic acid. Healthcare providers recommend Amoxicillin to adults and children, while the dosage differs by sign.

On the other hand, Azithromycin is a macrolide antibiotic sold under the brand name Zithromax. You need to know Pfizer makes this medication. Azithromycin is generally recommended as a Zithromax Z-Pak or Zithromax Tri-Pak tablet. Doctors may prescribe this antibiotic to adults and children, but the dosage can vary.  

It is necessary to know that if your doctor prescribes you an antibiotic, you must take it as prescribed. Finish the entire course of treatment even if you start feeling better after a few days. 

If you have been taking antibiotics for a long time and feel worse or not, contact the doctor immediately.

What conditions do Amoxicillin and Azithromycin treat?

Azithromycin is an effective drug that helps treat certain bacterial infections in adults and children. It is not recommended for people with pneumonia, especially for those who suffer from cystic fibrosis, nosocomial infections, weak immune systems, or asplenia.

Some of the conditions treated by Amoxicillin and Azithromycin include:

  • Acute bacterial exacerbations of chronic bronchitis(acute bronchitis). These infections appear due to Moraxella Catarrhalis, Haemophilus influenzae, or Streptococcus pneumoniae. 

  • Maintenance treatment of exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD).

  • Acute bacterial sinusitis that causes Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, or Streptococcus pneumoniae.

  • Streptococcus pyogenes caused by pharyngitis/tonsillitis

  • Haemophilus influenza, Chlamydophila pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, or Streptococcus pneumoniae cause community-acquired pneumonia.

  • Streptococcus pyogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, or Streptococcus agalactia cause uncomplicated skin/skin structure infections.

  • Genital ulcer disease in men because of Haemophilus ducreyi

  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae or Chlamydia trachomatis causes urethritis and cervicitis.

On the other hand, Amoxicillin treats various bacterial infections:

  • Urinary tract infections

  • Ear/throat/nose infections

  • Acute lower respiratory tract infections

  • Urinary tract infections

  • Acute uncomplicated gonorrhea

  • Skin or skin structure infections

  • Eradication of H. Pylori infection

To prevent antibiotic resistance, take Amoxicillin or Azithromycin with caution. These drugs should be taken only when prescribed by a doctor after examining your health problem.

Which Is More Effective- Amoxicillin or Azithromycin?

According to studies, Azithromycin and Amoxicillin are to be similarly effective and well-tolerated. However, one review of many studies shows that Azithromycin is much safer and better tolerated. It is effective in treating ear infections in children and has fewer treatment-related adverse events. However, both Azithromycin and Amoxicillin are safe and effective against bacterial infections. However, selecting the most appropriate antibiotic also depends on many factors. Your healthcare provider will choose the best antibiotic for your bacterial infection.

Side effects of Amoxicillin and Azithromycin

Like any other medicines, these antibiotic drugs may also cause some common side effects during their use. The common side effects that you face during the use of Azithromycin are nausea, diarrhea, or abdominal pain or discomfort. Besides vomiting, the most common side effects occur in only 5% of people in case if their blood sugar levels fall below 1%. Amoxicillin may cause severe allergic reactions, which may linked to penicillin resistance. You may experience vomiting, headache, nausea, irritable bowel, and redness of mouth and skin. Also, while having treatment with this drug, you may become prone to yeast infections. Your doctor may advise you to take probiotics after the treatment or before it.

Drug interactions of Amoxicillin and Azithromycin

Intake of either Amoxicillin or Azithromycin in combination with a blood thinner such as warfarin can be unsafe. The drug interaction between these drugs can increase the risk of bleeding and can be life-threatening.

Discussing this with your doctor is vital before starting the treatment with these antibiotics. About other medicines and herbal supplements you take. Azithromycin drug interactions can also occur with medicines like colchicine or digoxin. 

Allopurinol, in combination with Amoxicillin tablets, can cause you to suffer from an incidence of rash.

Therefore, take Amoxicillin or Azithromycin only under the doctor's supervision to get the most benefits. To learn more about the Generic Zithromax brand Azee, visit our Indian pharmacy store.

Warnings for both Azithromycin and Amoxicillin

Antimicrob agents, including Azithromycin or Amoxicillin, may cause a type of diarrhea known as C. difficile. Such type of diarrhea can be mild and may even be life-threatening and lead to death if not treated. It may cause symptoms like severe, watery, or bloody diarrhea and stomach cramps. If you experience these symptoms even months after stopping an antibiotic treatment, seek medical advice soon.

It would be best to use Azithromycin and Amoxicillin only to treat bacterial infections and take them as long as prescribed. Do not use an antibacterial drug for viral infections that may cause flu, Covid-19, or the common cold.

Pregnant women should use antibiotics like Azithromycin or Amoxicillin, which are only prescribed and necessary. Inform your doctor if you are a breastfeeding mother before you get prescribed these drugs.

Avoid the consumption of alcohol while taking these antibiotic drugs. It would be best. It will reduce the chances of facing any adverse effects on your health.

Before you get a prescription for these drugs, make sure to disclose your medical history in front of your doctor. Inform them if you have any allergic reaction to any drug, are taking any medicine, or are suffering from any illness.

Do take these antimicrob agents in higher doses than the prescribed ones. Avoid taking a double dose, and never skip or forget to take your scheduled doses.

Conclusion

Amoxicillin and Azithromycin are two common antibiotics prescribed to treat bacterial infections. While both have the same goal, they differ in chemical formulation and how they interact with other drugs. Be aware of any potential interactions when taking either antibiotic to get the most out of your treatment. Additionally, it is always best to speak with a doctor before starting medication for any condition, especially for a bacterial infection. Different people might need other prescriptions depending on their symptoms. 

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