The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of azithromycin. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
Adverse reactions reported with azithromycin during the postmarketing period in adult and/or pediatric patients for which a causal relationship may not be established include:
Arthralgia, edema, urticaria, and angioedema.
Arrhythmias including ventricular tachycardia and hypotension. There have been reports of QT prolongation and torsades de pointes.
Anorexia, constipation, dyspepsia, flatulence, vomiting/diarrhea, pseudomembranous colitis, pancreatitis, oral candidiasis, pyloric stenosis, and reports of tongue discoloration.
Asthenia, paresthesia, fatigue, malaise, and anaphylaxis.
Interstitial nephritis and acute renal failure and vaginitis.
Abnormal liver function, hepatitis, cholestatic jaundice, hepatic necrosis, and hepatic failure. [ see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS ( 5.2)]
Convulsions, dizziness/vertigo, headache, somnolence, hyperactivity, nervousness, agitation, and syncope.
Aggressive reaction and anxiety.
Pruritus serious skin reactions including erythema multiforme, AGEP, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, and DRESS
Hearing disturbances including hearing loss, deafness and/or tinnitus, and reports of taste/smell perversion and/or loss.
Clinically significant abnormalities (irrespective of drug relationship) occurring during the clinical trials were reported as follows: with an incidence of greater than 1%: decreased hemoglobin, hematocrit, lymphocytes, neutrophils, and blood glucose; elevated serum creatine phosphokinase, potassium, ALT, GGT, AST, BUN, creatinine, blood glucose, platelet count, lymphocytes, neutrophils, and eosinophils; with an incidence of less than 1%: leukopenia, neutropenia, decreased sodium, potassium, platelet count, elevated monocytes, basophils, bicarbonate, serum alkaline phosphatase, bilirubin, LDH, and phosphate. The majority of subjects with elevated serum creatinine also had abnormal values at baseline. When follow-up was provided, changes in laboratory tests appeared to be reversible.
In multiple-dose clinical trials involving more than 5000 patients, four patients discontinued therapy because of treatment-related liver enzyme abnormalities and one because of a renal function abnormality.
One, Three, and Five Day Regimens:
Laboratory data collected from comparative clinical trials employing two 3-day regimens (30 mg/kg or 60 mg/kg in divided doses over 3 days), or two 5-day regimens (30 mg/kg or 60 mg/kg in divided doses over 5 days) were similar for regimens of azithromycin and all comparators combined, with most clinically significant laboratory abnormalities occurring at incidences of 1 to 5%. Laboratory data for patients receiving 30 mg/kg as a single dose were collected in one single center trial. In that trial, an absolute neutrophil count between 500 to 1500 cells/mm 3 was observed in 10/64 patients receiving 30 mg/kg as a single dose, 9/62 patients receiving 30 mg/kg given over 3 days, and 8/63 comparator patients. No patient had an absolute neutrophil count <500 cells/mm 3.
In multiple-dose clinical trials involving approximately 4700 pediatric patients, no patients discontinued therapy because of treatment-related laboratory abnormalities.
Co-administration of nelfinavir at steady-state with a single oral dose of azithromycin resulted in increased azithromycin serum concentrations. Although a dose adjustment of azithromycin is not recommended when administered in combination with nelfinavir, close monitoring for known adverse reactions of azithromycin, such as liver enzyme abnormalities and hearing impairment, is warranted. [see ADVERSE REACTIONS ( 6)]
Spontaneous postmarketing reports suggest that concomitant administration of azithromycin may potentiate the effects of oral anticoagulants such as warfarin, although the prothrombin time was not affected in the dedicated drug interaction study with azithromycin and warfarin. Prothrombin times should be carefully monitored while patients are receiving azithromycin and oral anticoagulants concomitantly.
Interactions with digoxin, colchicine or phenytoin have not been reported in clinical trials with azithromycin. No specific drug interaction studies have been performed to evaluate potential drug-drug interaction. However, drug interactions have been observed with other macrolide products. Until further data are developed regarding drug interactions when digoxin, colchicine or phenytoin are used with azithromycin careful monitoring of patients is advised.
Available data from published literature and postmarketing experience over several decades with azithromycin use in pregnant women have not identified any drug-associated risks for major birth defects, miscarriage, or adverse maternal or fetal outcomes (see Data). Developmental toxicity studies with azithromycin in rats, mice, and rabbits showed no drug-induced fetal malformations at doses up to 4, 2, and 2 times, respectively, an adult human daily dose of 500 mg based on body surface area. Decreased viability and delayed development were observed in the offspring of pregnant rats administered azithromycin from day 6 of pregnancy through weaning at a dose equivalent to 4 times an adult human daily dose of 500 mg based on body surface area (see Data).
The estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated populations is unknown. All pregnancies have a background risk of birth defect, loss, or other adverse outcomes. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2 to 4% and 15 to 20%, respectively.
Available data from published observational studies, case series, and case reports over several decades do not suggest an increased risk for major birth defects, miscarriage, or adverse maternal or fetal outcomes with azithromycin use in pregnant women. Limitations of these data include the lack of randomization and inability to control for confounders such as underlying maternal disease and maternal use of concomitant medications.
Azithromycin administered during the period of organogenesis did not cause fetal malformations in rats and mice at oral doses up to 200 mg/kg/day (moderately maternally toxic). Based on body surface area, this dose is approximately 4 (rats) and 2 (mice) times an adult human daily dose of 500 mg. In rabbits administered azithromycin at oral doses of 10, 20, and 40 mg/kg/day during organogenesis, reduced maternal body weight and food consumption were observed in all groups; no evidence of fetotoxicity or teratogenicity was observed at these doses, the highest of which is estimated to be 2 times an adult human daily dose of 500 mg based on body surface area.
In a pre-and postnatal development study, azithromycin was administered orally to pregnant rats from day 6 of pregnancy until weaning at doses of 50 or 200 mg/kg/day. Maternal toxicity (reduced food consumption and body weight gain; increased stress at parturition) was observed at the higher dose. Effects in the offspring were noted at 200 mg/kg/day during the postnatal development period (decreased viability, delayed developmental landmarks). These effects were not observed in a pre-and postnatal rat study when up to 200 mg/kg/day of azithromycin was given orally beginning on day 15 of pregnancy until weaning.
Azithromycin is present in human milk (see Data). Non-serious adverse reactions have been reported in breastfed infants after maternal administration of azithromycin (see Clinical Considerations). There are no available data on the effects of azithromycin on milk production. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for azithromycin and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from azithromycin or from the underlying maternal condition.
Advise women to monitor the breastfed infant for diarrhea, vomiting, or rash.
Azithromycin breastmilk concentrations were measured in 20 women after receiving a single 2 g oral dose of azithromycin during labor. Breastmilk samples collected on days 3 and 6 postpartum as well as 2 and 4 weeks postpartum revealed the presence of azithromycin in breastmilk up to 4 weeks after dosing. In another study, a single dose of azithromycin 500 mg was administered intravenously to 8 women prior to incision for cesarean section. Breastmilk (colostrum) samples obtained between 12 and 48 hours after dosing revealed that azithromycin persisted in breastmilk up to 48 hours.
Safety and effectiveness in the treatment of pediatric patients with acute otitis media, acute bacterial sinusitis and community-acquired pneumonia under 6 months of age have not been established. Use of azithromycin for the treatment of acute bacterial sinusitis and community-acquired pneumonia in pediatric patients (6 months of age or greater) is supported by adequate and well-controlled trials in adults.
Safety and effectiveness in the treatment of pediatric patients with pharyngitis/tonsillitis under 2 years of age have not been established.
In multiple-dose clinical trials of oral azithromycin, 9% of patients were at least 65 years of age (458/4949) and 3% of patients (144/4949) were at least 75 years of age. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in response between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.
Elderly patients may be more susceptible to development of torsades de pointes arrhythmias than younger patients . [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS ( 5.4)]
Adverse reactions experienced at higher than recommended doses were similar to those seen at normal doses particularly nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. In the event of overdosage, general symptomatic and supportive measures are indicated as required.
Azithromycin tablets USP contain the active ingredient azithromycin, a macrolide antibacterial drug, for oral administration. Azithromycin has the chemical name (2R,3S,4R,5R,8R,10R,11R,12S,13S,14R)-13-[(2,6-dideoxy-3-C-methyl-3-O-methyl-α-L-ribo-hexopyranosyl) oxy]-2-ethyl-3,4,10-trihydroxy-3,5,6,8,10,12,14-heptamethyl-11-[[3,4,6-trideoxy-3-(dimethylamino)-β-D-xylo-hexopyranosyl]oxy]-1-oxa-6-azacyclopentadecan-15-one. Azithromycin is derived from erythromycin; however, it differs chemically from erythromycin in that a methyl-substituted nitrogen atom is incorporated into the lactone ring. Its molecular formula is C 38 H 72 N 2 O 12 , and its molecular weight is 749.00. Azithromycin has the following structural formula:
Azithromycin is supplied as tablets containing azithromycin monohydrate equivalent to either 250 mg or 500 mg azithromycin and the following inactive ingredients: croscarmellose sodium, dibasic calcium phosphate, hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, sodium lauryl sulfate, titanium dioxide, triacetin and D&C Red #30.
Organic Impurities Test Pending.
Azithromycin is a macrolide antibacterial drug. [see Microbiology ( 12.4)]
Based on animal models of infection, the antibacterial activity of azithromycin appears to correlate with the ratio of area under the concentration-time curve to minimum inhibitory concentration (AUC/MIC) for certain pathogens ( S. pneumoniae and S. aureus). The principal pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic parameter best associated with clinical and microbiological cure has not been elucidated in clinical trials with azithromycin.
QTc interval prolongation was studied in a randomized, placebo-controlled parallel trial in 116 healthy subjects who received either chloroquine (1000 mg) alone or in combination with oral azithromycin (500 mg, 1000 mg, and 1500 mg once daily). Co-administration of azithromycin increased the QTc interval in a dose- and concentration- dependent manner. In comparison to chloroquine alone, the maximum mean (95% upper confidence bound) increases in QTcF were 5 (10) ms, 7 (12) ms and 9 (14) ms with the co-administration of 500 mg, 1000 mg and 1500 mg azithromycin, respectively.
Following oral administration of a single 500 mg dose (two 250 mg tablets) to 36 fasted healthy male volunteers, the mean (SD) pharmacokinetic parameters were AUC 0-72 =4.3 (1.2) mcg·hr/mL; C max =0.5 (0.2) mcg/mL; T max =2.2 (0.9) hours. Two azithromycin 250 mg tablets are bioequivalent to a single 500 mg tablet.
In a two-way crossover study, 12 adult healthy volunteers (6 males, 6 females) received 1500 mg of azithromycin administered in single daily doses over either 5 days (two 250 mg tablets on day 1, followed by one 250 mg tablet on days 2 to 5) or 3 days (500 mg per day for days 1 to 3). Due to limited serum samples on day 2 (3-day regimen) and days 2 to 4 (5-day regimen), the serum concentration-time profile of each subject was fit to a 3-compartment model and the AUC 0-∞ for the fitted concentration profile was comparable between the 5-day and 3-day regimens.
*Total AUC for the entire 3-day and 5-day regimens.
|3 – Day Regimen||5 – Day Regimen|
|Pharmacokinetic Parameter [ mean ( SD )]||Day 1||Day 3||Day 1||Day 5|
|C m a x (serum, mcg/mL)||0.44 (0.22)||0.54 (0.25)||0.43 (0.20)||0.24 (0.06)|
|Serum AUC 0 – ∞ (mcg·hr/mL)||17.4 (6.2)*||14.9 (3.1)*|
|Serum T 1 / 2||71.8 hr||68.9 hr|
The absolute bioavailability of azithromycin 250 mg capsules is 38%.
In a two-way crossover study in which 12 healthy subjects received a single 500 mg dose of azithromycin (two 250 mg tablets) with or without a high fat meal, food was shown to increase
C max by 23% but had no effect on AUC.
When azithromycin oral suspension was administered with food to 28 adult healthy male subjects, C max increased by 56% and AUC was unchanged.
The serum protein binding of azithromycin is variable in the concentration range approximating human exposure, decreasing from 51% at 0.02 mcg/mL to 7% at 2 mcg/mL.
The antibacterial activity of azithromycin is pH related and appears to be reduced with decreasing pH, However, the extensive distribution of drug to tissues may be relevant to clinical activity.
Azithromycin has been shown to penetrate into human tissues, including skin, lung, tonsil, and cervix. Extensive tissue distribution was confirmed by examination of additional tissues and fluids (bone, ejaculum, prostate, ovary, uterus, salpinx, stomach, liver, and gallbladder). As there are no data from adequate and well-controlled studies of azithromycin treatment of infections in these additional body sites, the clinical significance of these tissue concentration data is unknown.
Following a regimen of 500 mg on the first day and 250 mg daily for 4 days, very low concentrations were noted in cerebrospinal fluid (less than 0.01 mcg/mL) in the presence of noninflamed meninges.
In vitro and in vivo studies to assess the metabolism of azithromycin have not been performed.
Plasma concentrations of azithromycin following single 500 mg oral and IV doses declined in a polyphasic pattern resulting in a mean apparent plasma clearance of 630 mL/min and terminal elimination half-life of 68hr. The prolonged terminal half-life is thought to be due to extensive uptake and subsequent release of drug from tissues. Biliary excretion of azithromycin, predominantly as unchanged drug, is a major route of elimination. Over the course of a week, approximately 6% of the administered dose appears as unchanged drug in urine.
Patients with Renal Impairment:
Azithromycin pharmacokinetics was investigated in 42 adults (21 to 85 years of age) with varying degrees of renal impairment. Following the oral administration of a single 1.0 g dose of azithromycin (4 x 250 mg capsules), mean C max and AUC 0-120 increased by 5.1% and 4.2%, respectively, in subjects with mild to moderate renal impairment (GFR 10 to 80 mL/min) compared to subjects with normal renal function (GFR >80 mL/min). The mean C max and AUC 0-120 increased 61% and 35%, respectively, in subjects with severe renal impairment (GFR <10 mL/min) compared to subjects with normal renal function (GFR >80 mL/min).
Patients with Hepatic Impairment:
The pharmacokinetics of azithromycin in subjects with hepatic impairment has not been established.
Male and Female Patients:
There are no significant differences in the disposition of azithromycin between male and female subjects. No dosage adjustment is recommended based on gender.
Geriatric Patients :
Pharmacokinetic parameters in older volunteers (65 to 85 years old) were similar to those in young adults (18 to 40 years old) for the 5-day therapeutic regimen. Dosage adjustment does not appear to be necessary for older patients with normal renal and hepatic function receiving treatment with this dosage regimen. [see Geriatric Use ( 8.5)]
Pediatric Patients :
In two clinical studies, azithromycin for oral suspension was dosed at 10 mg/kg on day 1, followed by 5 mg/kg on days 2 through 5 in two groups of pediatric patients (aged 1 to 5 years and 5 to 15 years, respectively). The mean pharmacokinetic parameters on day 5 were C max =0.216 mcg/mL, T max =1.9 hr, and AUC 0-24 =1.822 mcg·hr/mL for the 1 to 5-year-old group and were C max =0.383 mcg/mL, T max =2.4 hr, and AUC 0-24 =3.109 mcg·hr/mL for the 5 to 15-year-old group.
In another study, 33 pediatric patients received doses of 12 mg/kg/day (maximum daily dose 500 mg) for 5 days, of whom 31 patients were evaluated for azithromycin pharmacokinetics following a low fat breakfast. In this study, azithromycin concentrations were determined over a 24 hr period following the last daily dose. Patients weighing above 41.7 kg received the maximum adult daily dose of 500 mg. Seventeen patients (weighing 41.7 kg or less) received a total dose of 60 mg/kg. The following table shows pharmacokinetic data in the subset of pediatric patients who received a total dose of 60 mg/kg.
|Pharmacokinetic Parameter [ mean ( SD )]||5 – Day Regimen ( 12 mg / kg for 5 days )|
|C m a x (mcg/mL)||0.5 (0.4)|
|T m a x (hr)||2.2 (0.8)|
|AUC 0 – 2 4 (mcg⋅hr/mL)||3.9 (1.9)|
Single dose pharmacokinetics of azithromycin in pediatric patients given doses of 30 mg/kg have not been studied. [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION ( 2)]
Drug Interaction Studies
Drug interaction studies were performed with azithromycin and other drugs likely to be co-administered. The effects of co -administration of azithromycin on the pharmacokinetics of other drugs are shown in Table 1 and the effects of other drugs on the pharmacokinetics of azithromycin are shown in Table 2.
Co-administration of azithromycin at therapeutic doses had a modest effect on the pharmacokinetics of the drugs listed in Table 1. No dosage adjustment of drugs listed in Table 1 is recommended when co-administered with azithromycin.
Co-administration of azithromycin with efavirenz or fluconazole had a modest effect on the pharmacokinetics of azithromycin. Nelfinavir significantly increased the C max and AUC of azithromycin. No dosage adjustment of azithromycin is recommended when administered with drugs listed in Table 2. [see DRUG INTERACTIONS ( 7.3)]
* -90% Confidence interval not reported
|Table 1 . Drug Interactions : Pharmacokinetic Parameters for Co – administered Drugs in the Presence of Azithromycin|
|Co – administered Drug||Dose of Co – administered Drug||Dose of Azithromycin||n||Ratio ( with / without azithromycin ) of Co – administered Drug Pharmacokinetic Parameters ( 90 % CI ); No Effect = 1 . 00|
|Mean C m a x||Mean AUC|
|Atorvastatin||10 mg/day for 8 days||500 mg/day orally on days 6 to 8||12||0.83 (0.63 to 1.08)||1.01 (0.81 to 1.25)|
|Carbamazepine||200 mg/day for 2 days, then 200 mg twice a day for 18 days||500 mg/day orally for days 16 to 18||7||0.97 (0.88 to 1.06)||0.96 (0.88 to 1.06)|
|Cetirizine||20 mg/day for 11 days||500 mg orally on day 7, then 250 mg/day on days 8 to 11||14||1.03 (0.93 to 1.14)||1.02 (0.92 to 1.13)|
|Didanosine||200 mg orally twice a day for 21 days||1200 mg/day orally on days 8 to 21||6||1.44 (0.85 to 2.43)||1.14 (0.83 to 1.57)|
|Efavirenz||400 mg/day for 7 days||600 mg orally on day 7||14||1.04*||0.95*|
|Fluconazole||200 mg orally single dose||1200 mg orally single dose||18||1.04 (0.98 to 1.11)||1.01 (0.97 to 1.05)|
|Indinavir||800 mg three times a day for 5 days||1200 mg orally on day 5||18||0.96 (0.86 to 1.08)||0.90 (0.81 to 1.00)|
|Midazolam||15 mg orally on day 3||500 mg/day orally for 3 days||12||1.27 (0.89 to 1.81)||1.26 (1.01 to 1.56)|
|Nelfinavir||750 mg three times a day for 11 days||1,200 mg orally on day 9||14||0.90 (0.81 to 1.01)||0.85 (0.78 to 0.93)|
|Sildenafil||100 mg on days 1 and 4||500 mg/day orally for 3 days||12||1.16 (0.86 to 1.57)||0.92 (0.75 to 1.12)|
|Theophylline||4 mg/kg IV on days 1, 11, 25||500 mg orally on day 7, 250 mg/day on days 8 to 11||10||1.19 (1.02 to 1.40)||1.02 (0.86 to 1.22)|
|Theophylline||300 mg orally twice a day for 15 days||500 mg orally on day 6, then 250 mg/day on days 7 to 10||8||1.09 (0.92 to 1.29)||1.08 (0.89 to 1.31)|
|Triazolam||0.125 mg on day 2||500 mg orally on day 1, then 250 mg/day on day 2||12||1.06*||1.02*|
|Trimethoprim/ Sulfamethoxazole||160 mg/800 mg/day orally for 7 days||1200 mg orally on day 7||12||0.85 (0.75 to 0.97)/0.90 (0.78 to 1.03)||0.87 (0.80 to 0.95/0.96 (0.88 to 1.03)|
|Zidovudine||500 mg/day orally for 21 days||600 mg/day orally for 14 days||5||1.12 (0.42 to 3.02)||0.94 (0.52 to 1.70)|
|Zidovudine||500 mg/day orally for 21 days||1200 mg/day orally for 14 days||4||1.31 (0.43 to 3.97)||1.30 (0.69 to 2.43)|
* -90% Confidence interval not reported
|Table 2. Drug Interactions: Pharmacokinetic Parameters for Azithromycin in the Presence of Co-administered Drugs. [see DRUG INTERACTIONS ( 7)]|
|Co – administered Drug||Dose of Co – administered Drug||Dose of Azithromycin||n||Ratio ( with / without co – administered drug ) of Azithromycin Pharmacokinetic Parameters ( 90 % CI ); No Effect = 1 . 00|
|Mean C m a x||Mean AUC|
|Efavirenz||400 mg/day for 7 days||600 mg orally on day 7||14||1.22 (1.04 to 1.42)||0.92*|
|Fluconazole||200 mg orally single dose||1,200 mg orally single dose||18||0.82 (0.66 to 1.02)||1.07 (0.94 to 1.22)|
|Nelfinavir||750 mg three times a day for 11 days||1,200 mg orally on day 9||14||2.36 (1.77 to 3.15)||2.12 (1.80 to 2.50)|
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