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Azithromycin is an effective antibiotic treatment for traveller’s diarrhoea. It is frequently administered to those who are travelling to South and South East Asia and are at an increased risk of diarrhoea caused by bacterial infection.

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What is Azithromycin?

Azithromycin is a form of antibiotic that can be used to treat a variety of infections caused by bacteria. It is the recommended treatment for traveller’s diarrhoea, particular for those travelling to South Asia (India, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan), or South East Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma, Philippines).

This medication is only effective in treating bacterial infection rather than traveller’s diarrhoea caused by viral infections or parasites.

Travellers may order Azithromycin from their pharmacist in advance of a holiday or work trip to safeguard against bacterial infections.

Why Azithromycin?

Azithromycin is a flexible antibiotic treatment that offers travellers effective protection against bacterial infections that would otherwise leave an individual feeling seriously ill.

This prescription medication can be taken orally, with or without food. It is suitable for people of all ages, and there is no dosage adjustment necessary for elderly individuals or for patients with mild to moderate liver failure.

Azithromycin is medically equivalent to the branded drug Zithromax, but is offered by Express Pharmacy as a more affordable option.

How it works

Azithromycin works by preventing the bacteria causing traveller’s diarrhoea from multiplying. Working alongside the body’s own immune system, this antibiotic treatment can help an individual to recover quickly from the early symptoms of traveller’s diarrhoea rather than suffering for a prolonged period of time and potentially ruining a holiday or work trip.

Symptoms of the condition should start to improve within the first 24 hours of starting the antibiotic. This will also help to reduce the fluid loss, dehydration and discomfort commonly experienced as a result of traveller’s diarrhoea.

How to take Azithromycin

Azithromycin can be taken orally. You can take it with or without food.

Take one tablet a day over a three-day period. You should start taking Azithromycin as soon as you get traveller’s diarrhoea but not before. It is not a preventative treatment. It should not be taken alongside any other traveller’s diarrhoea medication.

Azithromycin is available from Express Pharmacy as a pack of three 500mg tablets or as six 500mg tablets.

Safe practice

As well as taking Azithromycin to speed up your recovery, certain safe practices can reduce the severity of your traveller’s diarrhoea. Drinking lots of water helps to replace any fluids lost through the infection, but be sure to consume only safe drinking water when abroad, such as sealed bottled water. You should also avoid alcoholic beverages while feeling unwell. Plenty of rest in a cool environment will also help lessen your symptoms.

These simple measures will help to reduce your discomfort in the hours it takes for azithromycin to take effect.

Side Effects

As is the case with all prescription medications, using Azithromycin for treating traveller’s diarrhoea may result in some side effects in some instances. In most cases these side effects are mild to moderate and typically do not last longer than a few hours or days at most.

The most commonly reported side effects of Azithromycin are abdominal pain, nausea and flatulence. In rare cases, users may also experience vomiting.

Do not take Azithromycin with any other form of traveller’s diarrhoea treatment, and avoid drinking alcohol whilst using the medication. Although moderate alcohol consumption (typically up to three drinks per day) will not reduce the effectiveness of the medication, it may intensify any side effects you experience.

If you do experience side effects which don’t go away after a few days, or if you feel you are experiencing uncommon side effects from the medication, contact your GP.

For a full list of potential side effects, read the patient information leaflet.


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Patient Information

Before taking any medication, it is important to read the Patient Information Leaflet. You can find the information by searching for your treatment on Medicines.org.uk.

If you have any questions about your treatment please refer to Medicines.org.uk or contact us.

Azithromycin Patient Information Leaflet

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