Azithromycin and Infants

Why isn’t azithromycin supposed to be given to infants? I thought it was safe because of its low levels of side effects.

Azithromycin and Infants

Dr. Greene’s Answer:

Azithromycin (Zithromax) is a fairly new antibiotic with few side effects. It can be effective in the treatment of ear infections, throat infections, tonsillitis, bronchitis, skin infections, and some sexually transmitted diseases. Azithromycin (Zithromax) has become very popular because it is pleasant to take and very convenient (once daily dosing for 5 days). Fewer than 1% of those taking azithromycin stop taking it because of problems with side effects. Most of these side effects are quite minor, but it has been reported to rarely cause a serious form of jaundice.

This is one of several reasons that azithromycin (along with erythromycin, an older antibiotic in the same class) is not recommended for use in children under 6 months of age when another antibiotic is available (see article on Pyloric Stenosis as well). Azithromycin is processed by the liver. The immature livers of infants in the first months of life are less ready to handle this, making the risk of jaundice greater. A baby is not simply a little adult, but a developing child with unique metabolic capabilities.

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Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is the founder of DrGreene.com (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.

  1. Lucky

    My baby is 4 n half months and doctor has prescribed azithromycin for cough and cold.. I have given her 1 dose , n nw I saw this article. what should I do ? Should I continue,.please help

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  2. Nicole

    My baby is 2 years and dr gave her for 2 weeks , for 7,5ml , after 1 week ,she started vonetin throw the night , cople of time , what I shoul to do?she had skin infection ,when I told the Dr , she said is not for antibiotic , put my baby on drop for 1day , and she wanna countinu with zitromax again?please help me

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