Z-Pack Side Effects

Zithromax (azithromycin) Z-pack is a prepackaged six-day course of 250 mg antibiotic tablets or capsules. Zithromax is a broad-spectrum macrolide antibiotic, meaning it is effective against a wide range of bacteria and is often used to treat respiratory, sinus and middle ear infections.

  1. Gastrointestinal Effects

    • Because Z-pack disrupts the gastrointestinal system by killing some normal bacteria, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort are common side effects. Severe colitis can occur in some cases even weeks after treatment.

    Allergic Reactions

    • Z-pack can cause allergic reactions, according to Lippincott's Nursing Drug Guide, resulting in severe red rash, hives, itching, blood in the stool, swelling and acute respiratory distress. Stop taking Zithromax at the first sign of allergic response.

    Photosensitivity/CNS Effects

    • Zithromax increases sensitivity to the ultraviotet rays of the sun, so avoid exposure to direct sunlight or tanning beds and use sunscreen. Zithromax can affect the central nervous system, causing lethargy, headaches, dizziness and sleepiness.

    Gynecological Effects

    • Z-pack may kill normal bacteria in the vagina, allowing fungus to overgrow and resulting in vaginitis with itching and watery discharge.

    Respiratory/Heart Effects

    • Z-pack may increase irritation of the respiratory system, causing cough, sore throat and runny nose. In rare cases, Zithromax may cause a rapid pulse with palpitations and discomfort in the chest.


    • Drugs.com reports that Zithromax decreases the effectiveness of oral birth control pills, sometimes resulting in unplanned pregnancy, so those taking birth control pills should use a second form of birth control during treatment with the Z-pack.

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