What is Azithromycin?
Azithromycin is a macrolide type antibiotic used to treat a number of bacterial infections. Some of the areas that azithromycin is effective in treating is infections in the ears, airways, skin and the sexually transmitted infection; chlamydia trachomatis.
The new updated dose for the treatment of chlamydia by NICE with Azithromycin is 1g on day one, followed by 500mg on day two and day three. A total of FOUR tablets over 3 days.
How does it work?
Azithromycin works by inhibiting protein production in bacteria, which then stops the bacteria from multiplying. This prevents the bacteria from spreading. The immune system will then kill the bacteria.
Azithromycin is particularly effective because it remains in the system for long periods of time preventing recolonisation of the bacteria that causes chlamydia.
When do I need to take it?
If you think you may have chlamydia it is imperative that go and get tested straight away. The test for chlamydia is usually a swab test or a urine sample test. For men it is almost always a urine test, for women it is usually a swab test.
If you have engaged in unprotected oral or anal sex a doctor may suggest a swab test in the rectum, throat and/or eyelid. In the case where you have had unprotected sex with someone that has chlamydia, there is a high probability that you will have chlamydia. Therefore, a doctor may prescribe treatment before you get your test results.
Most sexual health clinics or GPs will offer testing for free. The National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP) also offers free testing at pharmacies for those under the age of twenty-five.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding?
Azithromycin cannot be used if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or have had chlamydia. A doctor may prescribe a different antibiotic to treat chlamydia in these cases.