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Travel Illnesses

Azithromycin (diarrhoea treatment)

Please note: Brand received may vary

Azithromycin is the recommended antibiotic treatment for people suffering from travellers' diarrhoea travelling in the developing world where most diarrhoea is caused by bacteria. This medication can be used to treat various other conditions caused by bacterial infections. If, however, your diarrhoea is being caused by a viral condition, then you should seek alternative treatment since antibiotics like azithromycin will not prove effective. If you are deemed suitable for taking azithromycin, then the treatment comes in tablet form and daily doses are usually taken in the span of 3 or 5 days.

Last Patient Information Leaflet Review Date: 11/03/2019

See Azithromycin Patient Information Leaflet


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Dr. Diana Gall GMC No. 7685129

Dr Diana Gall graduated from medical school in 2005 and has since undertaken further intensive training in many different areas of medicine. Dr Diana has reached consultant level and has practiced medicine all over Europe.

Shamir Patel GPHC No. 2049338

Shamir is a well-respected pharmacist with extensive experience running online pharmacies in the UK.

Azithromycin for treating diarrhoea

Azithromycin is a type of antibiotic which can be used to treat various conditions including travellers’ diarrhoea. UK health expert groups have recommended azithromycin as the antibiotic of choice for patients who have travellers’ diarrhoea. It’s recommended to use this medication if you are at risk of severe illness should you develop travellers’ diarrhoea or if you’ll be visiting an area where there is high-risk of getting travellers’ diarrhoea.

Travellers’ diarrhoea can be caused by bacteria, viruses and/or protozoa. Azithromycin should only be used to treat diarrhoea caused by bacteria. Antibiotics should not be prescribed to treat illnesses caused by viruses because they won’t work and could end up making things worse by causing resistance to antibiotic medication.

Azithromycin is a generic antibiotic treatment, which means that if you’re prescribed this medication, you could receive a branded version of it.

What else can Azithromycin be used for?

Besides travellers’ diarrhoea caused by bacteria, azithromycin can also be prescribed to people for treating the following issues:

  • Chest infections including bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Infections in your sinuses, throat, tonsils or ears caused by bacteria
  • Skin and soft tissue infections (those that are mild to moderate)
  • Infections caused by chlamydia (a common STI)

How does an Azithromycin tablet work?

Azithromycin is able to combat illnesses caused by bacterial cells by focusing on the source of the infection and preventing it from spreading. The responsible bacteria have to generate a certain protein in order to self-reproduce and sustain itself. Azithromycin prohibits the production of this protein, meaning the existing bacterial cells end up becoming weaker and they can be eventually broken down and removed by the body’s natural defences.

Can I use Azithromycin?

If you have any health conditions unrelated to travellers’ diarrhoea (or whatever other illness you're aiming to treat with azithromycin), then you should tell your doctor or local pharmacist about this to check your still suitable to use azithromycin. In some circumstances, precautions may prove necessary in order to use this medication.

It is likely that either precautions will be needed or it’s unsafe to use azithromycin if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have previously experienced a serious allergic reaction which caused swelling of the face and throat (and possibly also breathing problems, a rash, fever or swollen glands)
  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding
  • You have severe kidney problems
  • You have liver problems
  • You have myasthenia gravis
  • You have been diagnosed with a neurological disease (a disease of the brain or nervous system)
  • You have been diagnosed with mental, emotional or behavioural problems
  • You have previously been diagnosed with prolonged QT interval
  • You have a slow or irregular heartbeat or reduced heart function
  • You have low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood

If you are currently taking any other medicines, then these should be mentioned to your doctor or local pharmacist before starting azithromycin, since some could cause interactions. It’s especially crucial to mention if you are taking any of the following:

  • Warfarin or other medicines used to prevent blood clots
  • Any medicines to treat migraines
  • Any medicines for treating irregular heartbeats
  • Ciclosporin
  • Digoxin
  • Colchicine
  • Antacids
  • Cisapride
  • Alfentanil
  • Astemizole

How do I take Azithromycin to treat diarrhoea?

Whatever specific condition you’re looking to treat with azithromycin, the typical recommended dose is 1500mg divided over either 3 or 5 days. Always take this medicine as your doctor or pharmacist has instructed you.

When the dosage is spread over 3 days, you’ll take 500mg once daily. When spread over 5 days, you’ll typically take 500mg once on the first day and then 250mg daily on days 2 to 5. The tablets are ideally taken with a glass of water and you can take this medication with or without food.

Azithromycin side effects

Like with other medicines, it is possible that azithromycin could end up causing side effects, but not everyone who takes this medicine experiences them. The most commonly reported side effects linked with azithromycin include the following:

  • Nausea and being sick
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flatulence
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness and drowsiness
  • Visual disturbances
  • Deafness
  • Indigestion
  • Skin rash
  • Itching
  • Joint pain
  • Tiredness
  • Changes in your white blood cell amount when having a blood test
  • Low blood bicarbonate

The side effects listed above are usually only mild and short-lasting if they do occur. However, there is a small possibility that more severe or prolonged side effects could occur. If you do experience any severe or long-lasting symptoms, then stop taking azithromycin and contact a doctor as soon as possible.

How is my order shipped to me?

When an order is ready for shipping, it is collected and delivered by either the Royal Mail or DPD depending on your preference (or possibly your location or the item you ordered). Each order is assigned a tracking number, which will be emailed to you at the time of dispatch. Your medicine will be sent in plain and discreet packaging. We do not include any branding on our packaging nor any labels which inform readers what type of product is contained within.

Dosage Instructions
Take 4 tablets as 1 single 1000mg dose.
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Delivery Charges

The following delivery methods are currently available within the UK: All orders are sent in discreet, plain packaging.

UK Standard Delivery, £1.99

Order before 12pm to have your order delivered using Royal Mail Tracked 48 Service

standard UK delivery within 3-5 working days

Additional terms and conditions apply.

UK Express Delivery, £2.99

Order before 12pm to have your order delivered using the Express delivery service* (deliveries are made Monday - Saturday)

If you order after 12pm, your order will be dispatched the next working day and will be with you within 48 hours once dispatched. This excludes weekends and bank holidays

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Royal Mail Special Delivery Next Day Anytime, £4.99 (This service includes Saturday)

Order before 12pm to have your order delivered using Royal Mail Special Delivery Service, which includes Saturday deliveries.

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Royal Mail Special Delivery Next Day Before 1pm, £7.99 (This service includes Saturday)

Order before 12pm to have your order delivered before 1pm next day using Royal Mail Special Delivery service, this also includes Saturday deliveries.

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Royal Mail Special Delivery Next Day Before 9am, £14.99 (This service includes Saturday)

Order before 12pm to have your order delivered before 9am next day using Royal Mail Special Delivery service, this also includes Saturday deliveries.

Additional terms and conditions apply.

DPD Next Day Delivery, £4.99 (Monday - Friday only. This service does not include Saturday)

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered the following working day

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

Additional terms and conditions apply.

DPD Next Day Delivery, by 12 Noon, £9.99 (Monday - Friday only. This service does not include Saturday)

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered by 12 noon the following working day

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

Additional terms and conditions apply.

DPD Next Day Delivery, by 10:30am, £14.99  (Monday - Friday only. This service does not include Saturday)

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered by 10:30am the following working day

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

Additional terms and conditions apply.

DPD Saturday Delivery, £14.99

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered the following Saturday

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

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DPD Saturday Delivery, by 12:00am, £21.99

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered by 12:00am Saturday

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

Additional terms and conditions apply.

DPD Saturday Delivery, by 10:30am, £29.99

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered by 10:30am Saturday

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

Additional terms and conditions apply, please see below.

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Delivery options exclude Bank Holidays, public holidays and Sundays.All deliveries are subject to Doctor-4-u successfully receiving payment and prescription being approved by the doctor.

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