[Posted 08/03/2018]AUDIENCE: Patient, Health Professional, Oncology ISSUE: The antibiotic azithromycin (Zithromax, Zmax) should not be given long-term to prevent a certain inflammatory lung condition in patients with cancers of the blood or lymph nodes who undergo a donor stem cell transplant. Results of a clinical trial found an increased rate of relapse in cancers affecting the blood and lymph nodes, including death, in these patients. We are reviewing additional data and will communicate our conclusions and recommendations when our review is complete. BACKGROUND: The serious lung condition for which long-term azithromycin was being studied called bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome is caused by inflammation and scarring in the airways of the lungs, resulting in severe shortness of breath and dry cough. Cancer patients who undergo stem cell transplants from donors are at risk for bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome. The manufacturer of brand name azithromycin is providing a Dear Healthcare Provider letter on this safety issue to health care professionals who care for patients undergoing donor stem cell transplants. Azithromycin is not approved for preventing bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome. It is very important that your doctor check the progress of you or your child at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects. If you or your child's symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor. This medicine may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you or your child have a rash, itching, hives, hoarseness, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth after you take this medicine. Serious skin reactions can occur with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, red skin lesions, severe acne or skin rash, sores or ulcers on the skin, or fever or chills while you are using this medicine.
Azithromycin is used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections. Unnecessary use or misuse of any antibiotic can lead to its decreased effectiveness. This medication will not work for viral infections (such as common cold, flu). Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking azithromycin and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily with or without food. You may take this medication with food if stomach upset occurs. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Azithromycin is used to treat certain bacterial infections in many different parts of the body. This medicine may mask or delay the symptoms of syphilis. Azithromycin belongs to the class of drugs known as macrolide antibiotics. It works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth. However, this medicine will not work for colds, flu, or other virus infections. This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription. This product is available in the following dosage forms: In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. For this medicine, the following should be considered: Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals.
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. Some other precautions and warnings with Zithromax to be aware of include potential drug interactions, the risk of severe diarrhea in some people taking Zithromax, and the safety of taking this medicine while pregnant or nursing.