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Zithromax Associated with Serious Kidney Side Effects

Aug 12, 2016

The widely prescribed antibiotic Zithromax (azithromycin) has been associated with a number of serious side effects. A recent concern has been kidney side effects. Patients taking Zithromax allege the drug has caused kidney damage, Top Class Actions reports.

Kidney damage can be a very serious issue, leading to kidney failure. Kidney failure occurs when damaged kidneys can no longer filter waste from the blood and cannot regulate the levels of water in the body. The condition can be fatal unless a transplant can be arranged. Patients awaiting transplant have to undergo dialysis to remove waste from the blood. Dialysis patients have to follow a strict treatment schedule.

Azithromycin received Food and Drug Administration in 1992. Zithromax is prescribed for conditions such as bronchitis, ear infections, sinusitis, pneumonia, strep throat, staph infections, skin infections, and tonsillitis. Zithromax works differently than traditional antibiotics. Zithromax inhibits the reproductive abilities of the bacteria and contains the infection site so the immune system can act against the bacteria.

The drug's popularity is due part to a shorter course of treatment. Many patients take Zithromax for five days rather than the seven to 10 day course required with other antibiotics. But Zithromax has been associated with a number of side effects, including kidney side effects such as blood urea nitrogen, interstitial nephritis, and high levels of serum creatinine, Top Class Actions reports.

Patients with interstitial nephritis-kidney inflammation-typically suffer kidney failure unless the condition is treated. Nephritis may cause changes in the person's urination patterns and will cause nausea and fatigue. The condition can be reversed if diagnosed early enough, so patients should be vigilant for any signs of Zithromax kidney side effects. Symptoms include fever, nausea, stomach pain, watery or bloody diarrhea, dark colored urine, jaundice, clay colored stools, and bleeding from nose or gums.

A recent study noted a number of acute kidney failure cases in Zithromax patients over 60 who were also taking aspirin. This patient group had been taking the drug for less than one month and had been HIV positive when they experienced Zithromax kidney side effects. The study consisted of 11,000 azithromycin patients, with 252 (2.35%) of them developing kidney failure.

Zithromax side effects also include liver problems or liver damage. Liver symptoms include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, fever, vomiting and abdominal pain. If the damage is severe enough, it could lead to liver failure, resulting in the need for a liver transplant, or even in death.

Azithromycin has been linked to the rare but serious allergic skin reactions Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). Stevens-Johnson is a serious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes, usually a reaction to a medication or an infection. SJS frequently begins with flu-like symptoms, followed by a painful red or purplish rash that spreads and blisters. SJS can affect large areas of the patient's skin and leave the person vulnerable to infection.

SJS patients often need to be treated in a hospital burn unit and can require skin grafts to replace lost skin. Recovery from Stevens-Johnson can take weeks or months, and some patients suffer permanent injuries and disfigurement.

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