How Effective Is Azithromycin for Acne?

A close up of acne.
Negative drug interactions with certain other medications can limit the use of azithromycin.
Article Details
  • Written By: Rebecca Mecomber
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 29 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Azithromycin is an antibiotic drug, used as an anti-bacterial for infections. It is a common and effective treatment for acne vulgaris, a very common skin disorder among adolescents and adult women. In various scientific studies, azithromycin for acne was shown to reduce severe inflammation by 20 percent within four weeks and completely cure acne for most individuals within eight weeks. Side effects of azithromycin were slight, with some patients reporting stomach upset, heartburn and nausea.

Acne is a common skin inflammation among adolescents, afflicting 70 to 87 percent of teenagers in Europe and the United States. Increased production of hormones, prevalent during the adolescent years as the child matures to adulthood, stimulate the secretion of the oily glands below the hair follicles. Bacteria harbor within these small follicles, causing inflammation and unsightly pustules on the dermal layer of the skin. As an anti-bacterial drug, azithromycin for acne reduces the bacterial growth, reduces inflammation and permits the skin to heal. Since azithromycin drug interactions and side effects are slight, the drug has become a mild, yet suitable, treatment for adolescent acne.

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Other drugs commonly prescribed for the treatment of acne are erythromycin, doxycycline and tetracycline. These more potent drugs, however, result in more discomforting side effects and lifestyle changes. For example, a person taking tetracycline may experience watery diarrhea, blurred vision and skin rashes when exposed to sunlight. Current studies show that patients taking low doses of azithromycin for acne experienced the same results as patients taking higher doses. Lower doses decrease the chances of severe side effects, making azithromycin one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics for acne due to its relative safety.

Generally, azithromycin dosage is administered in oral tablets, although a liquid suspension is available. Dosages as low as 1500 mg of azithromycin have show to be effective in reducing or completely eliminating acne. Azithromycin for acne requires no special dietary changes or restrictions, and most patients experience no side effects. Some sensitive patients may experience pain or cramps in the stomach, diarrhea, or a mild skin rash. Severe side effects include hives, wheezing, dyspnea of difficulty breathing, and rapid heartbeat.

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Discuss this Article

fify
Post 3

@ZipLine-- I'm taking azithromycin right now and it's working relatively well. It did take a while for it to kick in though. So don't expect a change immediately.

discographer
Post 2

@ZipLine-- Azithromycin works for some people and doesn't work for others. It didn't work for me, but it worked for my friend. I took it for a few weeks and noticed no difference in my acne. Actually, my acne got worse. But I don't remember having any side effects.

My friend was on azithromycin for a while too and the antibiotic worked for her. Her skin cleared up while she was on it. That being said, you can't take antibiotics forever. Antibiotics do help with severe, cystic acne but you have to follow up with other treatments. After a while, antibiotics become less effective anyway.

So it can be a good temporary treatment. Weigh the pros and cons with your doctor. If it doesn't work, you can just discontinue it and try something else. So it's probably worth a try if your doctor feels that you will benefit from it.

ZipLine
Post 1

My doctor wants me to take azithromycin for my acne but I'm not sure. I have never taken antibiotics for acne before. I need a treatment that works but I'm worried about the side effects.

Does anyone here take azithromycin for acne? Is it working for you? Are you experiencing any bad side effects? Do you think this treatment is worth it?

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