How Do AZO Pills Work?

How Do AZO Pills Work?
How Do AZO Pills Work? (Image: Henry Gray, Gray's Anatomy: Public Domain)


AZO tablets offer relief for pain, burning, urinary urgency and other symptoms caused by the irritation of the membranes of the lower urinary tract. This irritation arises most commonly from urinary tract infections but may also result from surgery, exploratory procedures, or the use of catheters. AZO relieves symptoms but does not address the underlying causes of them. AZO acts quickly, providing immediate pain relief while other treatments, such as antibiotics, work more slowly to treat root causes.


AZO is a brand name of the drug phenazopyridine hydrochloride. Pharmacologists do not know its precise method of action. They do know that phenazopyridine, when taken by mouth, passes through the kidneys and into the urine 65 percent intact. The urine transports the drug to the lower urinary tract, where it provides quick topical pain relief to sensitive mucous membranes.

Using AZO

AZO and other brands of phenazopyridine, including those available only by prescription, provide comfort to the thousands who suffer each year from urinary tract infections. The pain of these infections can be disabling, appearing suddenly and intensely. Label directions of AZO Standard recommend two 95 mg tablets taken three times daily with plenty of water. Sufferers most often find relief within one hour of the first dose. As AZO does not fight infection, seek medical advice if symptoms last for more than two days; concurrent therapy with an antibiotic or other treatment might be in order.

Side Effects

Rarely does a medication work without unwanted effects, and AZO is no exception. However, its side effects tend to be few and mild. These include headache, stomach upset and dizziness. In rare cases, those who suffer from previous liver or kidney problems may display severe side effects that indicate a problem in metabolizing the drug; these include pale or bluish skin, fever, jaundice, vomiting, drowsiness, confusion and sudden swelling of any part of the body. These symptoms could also indicate an allergy to the medication or even result from the original illness for which it was taken. Immediately seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.

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