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Zithromax vs Augmentin

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Zithromax Information

Augmentin Information

Comparative Analysis

Zithromax Prescription Information

Augmentin Prescription Information

Zithromax Side Effects

Augmentin Side Effects

Safety Information

Cost Information

Market Analysis



Zithromax and Augmentin are two antibiotics that can help combat bacterial infections, each having a unique way of interacting with bacteria. Both drugs work by inhibiting the growth and multiplication of harmful bacteria in the body, but they do so differently. Zithromax is an antibiotic known as a macrolide, it works by disrupting protein synthesis in bacteria, preventing them from growing and dividing. On the other hand, Augmentin belongs to a class of drugs known as penicillin-like antibiotics; specifically it's an "aminopenicillin" combined with clavulanic acid - this combination not only disrupts cell wall synthesis thereby killing the bacteria but also overcomes certain types of resistance some strains may have developed to penicillins. The choice between these two medications will depend on various factors such as type and location of infection along with potential patient allergies or intolerances.

Zithromax vs Augmentin Side By Side

Brand NameZithromaxAugmentin
ContraindicationsShould not be taken with certain heart rhythm medications (QT prolonging drugs), live bacterial vaccines, or allopurinol.Should not be taken with certain heart rhythm medications (QT prolonging drugs), live bacterial vaccines, or allopurinol.
CostAs low as $1/day for genericAverage cost between $2-$3 per day for generic
Generic NameAzithromycinAmoxicillin/clavulanate potassium
Most Serious Side EffectLiver dysfunction symptoms, heart problemsLiver disease, severe intestinal conditions
Severe Drug InteractionsQT prolonging drugsQT prolonging drugs
Typical Dose500-2000 mg in a single dose500 mg every 12 hours or 250 mg every 8 hours for mild to moderate infections; 875 mg every 12 hours or 500 mg every 8 hours for more severe infections

What is Zithromax?

Azithromycin, which is also known as Zithromax, was first approved by the FDA in 1991. This antibiotic falls under the class of macrolides and works by stopping bacteria from multiplying in your body. It's commonly prescribed for respiratory infections, skin infections and sexually transmitted diseases among other conditions. Azithromycin has a longer half-life than some other antibiotics, meaning it stays in the system for longer periods of time thus requiring fewer doses.

On the other hand, Amoxicillin/clavulanate potassium (Augmentin) belongs to the penicillin class of antibiotics and was first introduced into medical practice in 1981. Augmentin works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth – but unlike Azithromycin - it also contains a beta-lactamase inhibitor that helps prevent certain types of bacterial resistance making it more effective against some types of bacteria. Both drugs have different side effect profiles due to their differing mechanisms; however they are both generally well tolerated with proper use.

What conditions is Zithromax approved to treat?

Zithromax is approved for the treatment of several types of infections:

  • Community-acquired pneumonia, a common type of lung infection
  • Acute bacterial sinusitis, an inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses
  • Uncomplicated skin and skin structure infections
  • Urethritis and cervicitis, which are inflammations in parts of the urinary system
  • Genital ulcer disease (chancroid) in men.

How does Zithromax help with these illnesses?

Zithromax, or azithromycin, is an antibiotic that treats bacterial infections by inhibiting the synthesis of essential proteins in bacteria. It does this by binding to the 50S subunit of the bacterial ribosome, thus preventing translation and growth. Bacteria require these proteins for replication and survival. As a macrolide antibiotic, Zithromax has broad-spectrum activity against many gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.

On the other hand, Augmentin is a combination medication containing amoxicillin and clavulanic acid. Amoxicillin also works by disrupting protein synthesis in bacteria but it does so as a penicillin-type beta-lactam antibiotic which interferes with cell wall synthesis leading to death of growing cells. The addition of clavulanic acid helps prevent resistance to amoxicillin by blocking enzymes (beta-lactamases) produced by some resistant bacteria that would otherwise degrade amoxicillin before it can act.

Both antibiotics are effective in treating different types of bacterial infections; however, they work through somewhat different mechanisms and their spectrum of activity differs based on these variations.

What is Augmentin?

Augmentin is a brand name for a combined antibiotic of amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium. It acts as an inhibitor to bacterial cell wall synthesis, essentially blocking the construction of bacteria's protective walls that are critical for their survival within the human body. Augmentin was first approved by the FDA in 1984. As Augmentin is not a macrolide antibiotic, it does not inhibit protein synthesis as Zithromax does. This difference of action means that its side-effect profile also differs from that of macrolides like Zithromax; particularly in causing less gastrointestinal discomfort (a common side effect with macrolides). The combination formulation can be beneficial in treating infections caused by resistant strains where typical antibiotics such as Zithromax may not be effective.

What conditions is Augmentin approved to treat?

Augmentin is an effective antibiotic that has been approved for the treatment of various bacterial infections, including:

  • Sinusitis (sinus infection)
  • Otitis media (ear infection)
  • Pneumonia and other lower respiratory tract infections
  • Skin and soft tissue infections This makes it a versatile option in combating a broad range of common bacterial diseases.

How does Augmentin help with these illnesses?

Augmentin is a combination antibiotic that contains both amoxicillin and clavulanic acid, which work together to fight various infections caused by bacteria. The amoxicillin component in Augmentin works by inhibiting the construction of bacterial cell walls, thereby killing them or stopping their growth. However, many bacteria produce an enzyme (beta-lactamase) that can break down the structure of amoxicillin, rendering it ineffective. This is where clavulanic acid comes into play; it inhibits these enzymes thus protecting the effectiveness of amoxicillin and extending its spectrum of activity.

In contrast to Zithromax (azithromycin), which interferes with protein synthesis in susceptible bacteria preventing them from multiplying, Augmentin has a broader range due to its dual action against bacterial infection. It's often prescribed when an infection is resistant to other antibiotics or when a broad-spectrum antibiotic is needed as it acts on multiple fronts within the battle against bacteria. Therefore, if you do not respond well to typical macrolide antibiotics like Zithromax or have an infection caused by beta-lactamase producing pathogens, your healthcare provider might recommend Augmentin.

How effective are both Zithromax and Augmentin?

Both Azithromycin (Zithromax) and Amoxicillin/clavulanate (Augmentin) are widely used antibiotics with proven efficacy in treating bacterial infections. They were initially approved by the FDA several years apart, with Augmentin being approved first in 1984 followed by Zithromax in 1991. While both drugs act to inhibit bacterial growth, they do so through different mechanisms - Zithromax inhibits protein synthesis while Augmentin disrupts cell wall synthesis.

The effectiveness of these two antibiotics was directly compared in a randomized clinical trial that studied their use in outpatient children with pneumonia; both drugs exhibited similar efficacy and safety profiles. In this study, no significant difference was noted between patients receiving Zithromax and those receiving Augmentin.

A meta-analysis conducted on numerous studies involving Azithromycin demonstrated its effectiveness not only against common respiratory pathogens but also against atypical ones like Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydophila pneumoniae starting from the early days of treatment. Its side effect profile is generally favorable compared to other macrolides, and it's well-tolerated even among pediatric populations.

On the other hand, a systematic review done on Amoxicillin/clavulanate indicated its broad-spectrum antibacterial activity making it effective against most common pathogens involved in community-acquired infections including Streptococcus pneumoniae resistant strains. However, gastrointestinal disturbances such as diarrhea are relatively common with Augmentin which might limit its use for some individuals who cannot tolerate these side effects.

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At what dose is Zithromax typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Zithromax for adults typically range from 500-2000 mg in a single dose, depending on the infection being treated. For most infections, a single dose is sufficient. However, children and adolescents may need to take smaller doses or have their dosage split over several days. In either population, if there is no improvement after a few days of treatment, contact your healthcare provider as adjustment or change in antibiotic may be necessary. The maximum dosage that should not be exceeded at any given time is 2000 mg/day.

At what dose is Augmentin typically prescribed?

Augmentin treatment typically starts with a dosage of 500 mg every 12 hours or 250 mg every 8 hours for mild to moderate infections. For more severe infections and those of the respiratory tract, the dose should be one Augmentin tablet of 875 mg every 12 hours or one Augmentin tablet of 500 mg every eight hours. The maximum daily dose is not typically higher than these amounts unless directed by a healthcare professional. If there's no response to treatment after a few days, your doctor may reassess and adjust the dosage accordingly.

What are the most common side effects for Zithromax?

Common side effects of Zithromax and Augmentin can include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Flatulence (gas)
  • Headache
  • Skin rash, itching, hives or other skin reactions
  • Dizziness
  • Vaginitis in women (vaginal inflammation)
  • Changes in taste sensation

If you experience these symptoms persistently while taking either of these medications, it's important to contact your healthcare provider. Some people may also have an allergic reaction to these antibiotics, which could cause difficulty breathing or swallowing. If you experience any severe side effects like this, seek immediate medical attention.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Zithromax?

While Zithromax and Augmentin are both antibiotics, they can cause different side effects. In rare cases, Zithromax has been known to potentially trigger serious reactions such as:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat.
  • Liver dysfunction symptoms: nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine clay-colored stools jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
  • Severe stomach issues: diarrhea that is watery or bloody.
  • Heart problems - chest pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body slurred speech leg swelling headache vision changes shortness of breath.

Augmentin on the other hand may provoke these potential severe adverse effects:

  • Allergic reactions manifesting with symptoms like hives; difficult breathing; swelling in your face or throat
  • Liver disease - upper stomach pain loss of appetite dark urine jaundice (yellowing of the skin and/or eyes) -Severe intestinal conditions indicated by diarrhoea that's watery/bloody

Should you experience any signs from either list while taking their respective medication stop immediately and seek urgent medical attention.

What are the most common side effects for Augmentin?

In comparison to Zithromax, Augmentin might have different side effects. Some of the most common ones linked with Augmentin are:

  • Nausea, vomiting or stomach discomfort
  • Diarrhea
  • Mild skin rash
  • White patches on your mouth or throat
  • Bloating and gas

While less common, some people may also experience headache, insomnia, and rarely a fast heartbeat. More severe but rare side effects can include confusion or agitation. It's important to note that while these potential side effects exist, many people take Augmentin without experiencing any adverse reactions.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Augmentin?

It's important to take note of potential side effects when taking medications like Augmentin. Some common adverse reactions could include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing or swallowing, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Skin reactions like a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) causing blistering and peeling
  • Hepatic dysfunction indicated by symptoms such as nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools or jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Severe stomach pain caused by inflammation in your large intestine
  • Easy bruising or bleeding; unusual weakness with severe tingling numbness and muscle weakness

If you experience any signs indicative of these more serious side effects while using Augmentin it is crucial to stop medication use and seek medical attention immediately.

Contraindications for Zithromax and Augmentin?

Both Zithromax and Augmentin, along with most other antibiotic medications, may cause gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea in some people. If you notice severe symptoms or an increase in allergic reactions like rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing after using these antibiotics, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Zithromax nor Augmentin should be taken if you are taking certain types of medication for heart rhythm (QT prolonging drugs), live bacterial vaccines or allopurinol. Always let your doctor know about all the medicines you use; these medications will require a careful dose adjustment and safety monitoring to prevent dangerous interactions with both Zithromax and Augmentin.

How much do Zithromax and Augmentin cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The average price for six tablets (500 mg each) of Zithromax is around $50, which works out to about $8.33/day considering that it's typically taken over a five-day treatment period.
  • In contrast, a course of Augmentin (20 x 875mg/125mg tablets) costs around $120, working out to approximately $6/day if taken twice daily over ten days.

Thus, if you're prescribed the typical dosages indicated above, then brand-name Augmentin is less expensive on a per-day treatment basis. However, cost should not be your primary consideration when determining which antibiotic is right for you — effectiveness and safety must also be considered.

In terms of generic options:

  • Azithromycin (the active ingredient in Zithromax) can be purchased at similar dosage levels for much lower prices — as low as $1/day depending on where you purchase it.
  • Likewise, Amoxicillin/clavulanate potassium (the active ingredients in Augmentin) can also come with significant savings at an average cost between $2-$3 per day.

As always though, consult with your healthcare provider before making any decisions regarding medication.

Popularity of Zithromax and Augmentin

Azithromycin, commonly known by its brand name Zithromax, was prescribed to approximately 45.8 million people in the US in 2020. It accounted for around 20% of all antibiotic prescriptions that year. Azithromycin is a macrolide antibiotic and has been generally increasing in prevalence since it was introduced due to its convenient dosing schedule and broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity.

Amoxicillin/clavulanate, better known as Augmentin, was prescribed to about 36.3 million people in the USA during the same period. In the US market, Augmentin accounts for roughly 15% of total antibiotic prescriptions. Both medications are widely used across various age groups due to their efficacy against common bacterial infections such as respiratory tract infections and skin infections but have different spectrums of coverage with azithromycin being more effective against atypical pathogens while amoxicillin/clavulanate covers more gram-positive bacteria including those producing beta-lactamases.


Both Zithromax (azithromycin) and Augmentin (amoxicillin/clavulanic acid) are widely used antibiotics with long records of effectiveness in treating bacterial infections. They have been backed by numerous clinical studies and meta-analyses indicating their superiority over placebo treatments. Both drugs work by inhibiting bacteria's ability to synthesize cell walls, thereby killing or stopping the growth of the bacteria.

Zithromax is usually preferred for respiratory tract infections due to its prolonged action, fewer dosing intervals and less gastrointestinal side effects while Augmentin tends to be a first-line option for skin infections, urinary tract infections or where there is suspicion of beta-lactamase producing organisms.

The different mechanisms of action mean that they tend to be prescribed under different circumstances. Sometimes both antibiotics might even be combined; however, this requires careful consideration as unnecessary antibiotic use can lead to drug resistance.

Both Zithromax and Augmentin are available in generic form, representing significant cost savings especially for patients who must pay out-of-pocket. As with any medication, an adjustment period may occur meaning that improvements may not necessarily show immediately after starting the treatment course.

Although generally well-tolerated, both medications come with potential side effects: common ones include nausea/vomiting/diarrhea but these are typically mild-moderate in nature. In rare cases serious adverse reactions such as severe allergic reactions could occur which would require immediate medical attention.