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If you are sick with an infection and you go to the doctor, you are likely to be prescribed an antibiotic. There are many different types of antibiotics a doctor could prescribe, but two of the most common are azithromycin, commonly called a Z-pak, and amoxicillin. Each of these drugs are used to treat bacterial infections, including bronchitis, pneumonia, laryngitis, upper respiratory infections, urinary tract and skin infections, and some sexually transmitted infections. They are similar in this regard, but they are also different in many ways. Let’s take a closer look at these two medications and see how they compare with each other.

While both of amoxicillin and azithromycin are antibiotics, they are in different classes of antibiotic. Amoxicillin is a penicillin-type antibiotic. It used to be sold under the name Amoxil, but traditional amoxicillin is now only available in generic form. There is an extended release amoxicillin, however, with the brand name Moxatag. The benefit of an extended release pill is that it can be taken fewer times a day than regular pills. Azithromycin, also called Zithromax, is a macrolide antibiotic. What is the difference between these two types of antibiotics? Penicillin-type antibiotics prevent bacteria from multiplying, so that the population eventually dies off. Macrolide antibiotics, on the other hand, prevent bacteria from making proteins necessary for their survival. Both are considered broad spectrum antibiotics, which means they treat a wide range of infections, but azithromycin treats a longer list than amoxicillin. Both azithromycin and amoxicillin can effectively treat pneumonia, respiratory infections, ear infections, pneumonia, and skin infections. Amoxicillin is used to treat urinary tract infections and H. pylori.

Amoxicillin is often the first choice for treating bacterial infections, but some research indicates that azithromycin may be more effective. One reason for this is that it meets less bacteria resistance. People who have liver disease or are on anticoagulant medications must use caution taking azithromycin because it increases the risk of bleeding, and people who are severely allergic to penicillin should not take amoxicillin. While amoxicillin rarely interacts with other drugs, azithromycin can’t be taken with magnesium or aluminum based antacids because they will prevent it from being properly absorbed. If you plan to continue taking these antacids while you are on a Z-Pak, you must make sure you wait at least two hours between the two types of medication.

The way these two antibiotics are taken is one factor that sets them apart from one another. They are both available in pill and liquid, but azithromycin is also available in extended release liquid, and amoxicillin can be prescribed as a chewable tablet or an extended release tablet. The dosage is different as well. Amoxicillin varies in dosage, but unless an extended release tablet is prescribed, the antibiotic must be taken every eight to 12 hours, usually for 10 days. With azithromycin, a double dose is taken the first day, and then just one tablet is taken each day after that. The course of treatment is typically short, usually just five days. For many patients, taking fewer pills for a shorter period of time is more convenient, and it’s easier to remember to take just one pill, rather than taking a pill two to three times each day. Your doctor will be able to make an informed decision about which kind of antibiotic will be most appropriate for you, based on your type of illness and other factors in your medical history.

If you are looking for medical care in Jackson, Tennessee, you will find caring, compassionate doctors at 45 Urgent Care. Since September of 2000, the co-owners of 45 Urgent Care have treated the residents of Jackson and west Tennessee for musculoskeletal conditions, focusing on physical medicine, chiropractic care, and rehabilitation. When we moved to our new location, we made the decision to bring superior health care to the community with a dual purpose facility, with Advanced Rehab and Medical and 45 Urgent Care providing two distinct health care options with the same goals. Striving to restore lasting enjoyment of life in and beyond our community, we provide innovative, collaborative healthcare with the goal of serving and empowering each patient to achieve optimal health. Call 731-554-0571, head to our walk-in clinic, or visit our website to schedule an appointment.