From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The structure of azithromycin

Azithromycin is an antibiotic which is used to treat a number of different bacterial infections in humans such as strep throat, pneumonia or bronchitis.[1] It was discovered in the late 1970s in Yugoslavia and is still one of the most popular antibiotics in the world.[2][3] Azithromycin kills bacteria by stopping the protein production inside of it.[1]

History[change | change source]

The packaging of the Sumamed sold by Pliva

Azithromycin was discovered by a team of scientists working in the Research Institute of the pharmaceutical company PLIVA in Croatia in the late 70s.[4] The drug was patented in 1981.[5] The agreenment was signed between Pliva and Pfizer which allowed the use of azithromycin worldwide. Pliva sold it on the territory of Central and Eastern Europe under the name Sumamed becoming one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in Central and Eastern Europe.[2] Pfizer which sold the drug under the name Zithromax also saw great commercial success receiving $2 billion in sales in the peak year.[2]

Use in medicine[change | change source]

Azithromycin is usually prescribed in the form of tablets.[5] The drug targets the ribosome of the bacteria which prevents the translation of mRNA into proteins. Hence, the protein production stops in bacteria terminating the infection.[6] Azithromycin is particularly effective against the microogranisms below:[5]

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Streptococcus agalactiae
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Streptococcus pyogenes
  • Haemophilus ducreyi
  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • Moraxella catarrhalis
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • Chlamydia pneumoniae
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae
  • Helicobacter pylori

Use during COVID-19 pandemic[change | change source]

The azithromycin was widely used during the COVID-19 pandemic to treat the coronavirus patients. However, the research found that the drug is ineffective and even increases the chances of hospitalisation.[7][8]

Side effects[change | change source]

Common side effects when taking azithromycin include feeling sick, diarrhoea, vomiting, losing your appetite, headaches, feeling dizzy or tired, changes to your sense of taste.[9] Serious, but rare side effects are liver damage, heart rhythm change and serious allergic reactions.[10]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Bakheit, Ahmed H. H.; Al-Hadiya, Badraddin M. H.; Abd-Elgalil, Ahmed A. (1 January 2014). "Chapter One - Azithromycin". Profiles of Drug Substances, Excipients and Related Methodology. Academic Press. pp. 1–40.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Azithromycin: A world best-selling Antibiotic".
  3. "The Top 300 of 2020".
  4. Banić Tomišić, Z. (2011-12-01). "The Story of Azithromycin" (PDF). Kemija u Industriji. 60 (12): 603–617. ISSN 0022-9830. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-12-02. Retrieved 2023-07-20.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Azithromycin".
  6. Heidary, Mohsen; Ebrahimi Samangani, Ahmad; Kargari, Abolfazl; Kiani Nejad, Aliakbar; Yashmi, Ilya; Motahar, Moloudsadat; Taki, Elahe; Khoshnood, Saeed (June 2022). "Mechanism of action, resistance, synergism, and clinical implications of azithromycin". Journal of Clinical Laboratory Analysis. 36 (6). doi:10.1002/jcla.24427.
  7. "Common COVID-19 Antibiotic No More Effective Than Placebo | UC San Francisco". 2021-07-16. Retrieved 2023-07-01.
  8. Beeston, Amelia (2022-05-31). "Platform trial rules out treatments for COVID-19". NIHR Evidence. Retrieved 2023-07-01.
  9. "Side effects of azithromycin". 2022-01-21. Retrieved 2023-07-01.
  10. "Azithromycin: Uses, dosage, side effects, and warnings". 2019-07-12. Retrieved 2023-07-01.