What Is the Difference Between Azithromycin and Doxycycline?

Azithromycin is commonly used to treat ear infections.
Azithromycin may be used to treat sore throats.
Doxycycline may be prescribed to treat sinusitis.
Article Details
  • Written By: Erik J.J. Goserud
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 27 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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When a person becomes ill, it may be due an infection, in other words, a rapidly reproducing body of bacteria in the body. To help counteract this bacterial growth, which may severely impact a person's health in a negative way, medical professions may prescribed an antibiotic. Two commonly prescribed antibiotics are azithromycin and doxycycline, and although both act to combat bacteria, they are different in chemical structure, mechanism of action, and spectrum of susceptible bacteria.

Azithromycin and doxycycline are powerful tools for winning the war against infection. Azithromycin is commonly known as a Z-Pack or Zithromax and belongs to a class of antibiotics known as macrolides. It is utilized to treat ear infections, sore throats, pneumonia, and other ailments caused by bacteria. The structure of this antibiotic is complex, and its mechanism of action is protein synthesis interference, which prevents bacterial replication.

Doxycycline is an antibiotic of the tetracycline group, marketed as the common brand name of Vibramycin. This antibiotic is used most commonly in the treatment of prostatitis and sinusitis and is additionally utilized for sexually transmitted infections, such as syphilis and chlamydia. Although both substances use protein synthesis interference to cease bacterial replication, they do so in different ways.

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Both azithromycin and doxycycline are broad spectrum antibiotics. This basically means that they are used for many different bacteria that cause a wide range of medical conditions. There are, of course, situations that render them ineffective, such as unique strains or antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Rare strains may need to be addressed through the use of antibiotics that are of another category.

Antibiotic resistance has come to the attention of medical professionals in relatively recent times. Just as evolution suggests, organisms evolve in a manner that allows them the best chance for survival. Due to the common use of antibiotics such as azithromycin and doxycycline, bacteria too have evolved and become resistant to such treatments. This is dangerous because of the potential for bacteria that are not affected by any type of medical intervention, resulting in an infection that cannot be controlled through medicine.

Due to the risks involved with any medication, especially antibiotics, it is necessary that a patient consult a medical professional before the onset of any treatment measures. Although antibiotics may help treat potentially life-altering conditions, they may also adversely affect an individual in ways that outweigh the positives. All of these factors should be considered before making the decision to take antibiotics.

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Discuss this Article

wavy58
Post 4

@StarJo - Dermatologists everywhere are using doxycycline to treat acne. Mine told me that it has become the drug of choice for curing severe cases.

Something about the combination of doxycycline, biweekly chemical peels, and topical gel really provides a powerful punch to acne. My cousin who lives three states away went to her dermatologist, and he prescribed the same combination of drugs.

The peels remove the dead skin that can clog pores, and the gel controls the oils that can do the same. The doxycycline treats the bacterial side of things, so it really gets to the heart of the problem.

orangey03
Post 3

My doctor gave me azithromycin to treat a bacterial vaginal infection. She feared that the antibiotic might give me a yeast infection on top of the problem I already had, so she prescribed me a type of pill to treat yeast infections in case one arose.

I had been dealing with the bacterial infection for weeks. The itching and burning got to the point that I could no longer stand it. When I started taking azithromycin, I got some relief after the first day. By the second day, I was so much better. I ended up not even needing the yeast infection medicine.

shell4life
Post 2

I have never taken azithromycin, but I can attest to the power of doxycyline. My doctor used it to treat my stubborn sinusitis, and it’s the only thing that worked.

I had been to my doctor multiple times in two months, trying to get rid of the same sinus infection. The first time, she gave me straight penicillin. It seemed to work at first, but then the symptoms returned. The second time, she gave me bactrim. It got rid of my fever and cough, but the bloody sinuses and trouble breathing persisted.

Wonderful doxycycline knocked the infection right out. Within a week, my dry, bloody mucus was gone, and I didn’t have to blow my nose every few minutes.

StarJo
Post 1

I have taken both azithromycin and doxycycline in my lifetime. Both worked equally well, but for different things.

My doctor gave me azithromycin when I had an ear infection. I had gotten water in my ears from swimming, and instead of drying up, it got trapped and provided a warm, moist place for bacteria to grow. After a few days of taking this antibiotic, my pain had gone away.

My dermatologist prescribed doxycycline as a key part of my acne treatment. He said that bacteria were contributing to my severe outbreaks. I remember taking doxycyline for at least a month, and as long as I was on it, my acne situation improved. After I got off of it, I had a few more flare-ups, but I couldn’t take it forever, though I wished that I could.

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