Azithromycin has two names by which it is prescribed: Zmax and Zithromax. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of this medication to treat acute bacterial infections of the respiratory system, acute bacterial sinus infections, bacterial pneumonia, pharyngitis, tonsillitis, skin structure infections, urethritis, cervicitis, and genital ulcer disease. The risks of using this medication include fatal heart rhythms when patients already suffer from cardiovascular conditions. The FDA also notes that this drug should not be used for long-term use1.
Azithromycin for Acute Bronchitis
Ten million adults visit their doctors every year to receive the diagnosis of acute bronchitis. In this pill-popping, loving nation, many millions of prescriptions are written by these doctors for prescriptions of Azithromycin to treat the symptoms of acute bronchitis. The question is whether or not a course of antibiotics is actually needed to treat this illness? Do people get better over the course of five to seven days with a treatment of low-dose vitamin C instead of the once-daily, strong and expensive antibiotic regiment? In the United States, when people are sick and visit their doctors, they expect a prescription in order to feel better. Doctors comply to keep their satisfaction ratings high in this HMO rating frenzied nation. In this article, a double-blind study was performed to see if a five day regimen of low-dose vitamin C was as effective as a five day course of the antibiotic Azithromycin.
Patients received either 5 caplets of 250 mg of the antibiotic Azithromycin or 5 caplets of 250 mg vitamin C along with enough dextrose to fill the capsule. All patients were called three days and seven days after their visit to the emergency room to check on their compliance in taking their pills. If the patient was not reachable after six phone calls on the given day, they were removed from the equation.
In total, 448 potential patients were included in the study. There were 340 that were diagnosed with acute bronchitis. Of these there were 249 people that were eligible to participate in the study and 220 were willing to do so. Of those that were willing to participate, 112 received azithromycin and 108 received vitamin C. After both follow up phone calls, 97 were included in the study that had received the Azithromycin and 92 were included in the study that received the vitamin C caplets.
There were no statistical differences between the groups of participants. The numbers were statistically insignificant in those who had returned to work, those who had not, those who completed their medication, and those who were not compliant. Five patients who had received Azithromycin and four who had received vitamin C returned to their doctor due to not feeling better by day seven, therefore p<6 for patients receiving Azithromycin and p<4 for patients receiving vitamin C caplets .
This study was able to demonstrate that it is not necessary to be prescribed a strong and expensive antibiotic to treat acute bronchitis. Taking a low dose of vitamin C produces the same health benefits without the health risks2.
http://www.thomonhc.com.ezproxy.samford.edu/home/dispatch. Accessed Apr 17, 2013.
Azithromycin for acute bronchitis: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. Lancet. 2002.