What Is The Real Name For Azithromycin?

You’ve probably heard of the widely-used medication called Azithromycin, but have you ever wondered what its real name is? Azithromycin is actually just its generic name, and it goes by a few different brand names depending on where you are in the world. In this article, we’ll explore the real name for Azithromycin and uncover some interesting facts about this popular antibiotic. So, if you’ve ever been curious about the true identity of this medication, keep reading to find out more!

Azithromycin Overview

Azithromycin is a widely used antibiotic medication that is commonly prescribed to treat various bacterial infections. It is available in both brand name and generic forms. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of azithromycin, including its uses, mechanism of action, common side effects, trade names, generic name, pharmacological classification, chemical name and formula, history and discovery, international nonproprietary name (INN), and other names and synonyms.

Uses of Azithromycin

Azithromycin is primarily used to treat a variety of infections caused by bacteria, such as respiratory tract infections, skin and soft tissue infections, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It is effective against a wide range of bacteria, including some strains that have developed resistance to other antibiotics. Azithromycin works by stopping the growth and multiplication of bacteria, thereby helping to eliminate the infection and relieve symptoms.

Mechanism of Action

The mechanism of action of azithromycin involves inhibiting the synthesis of bacterial proteins, thus preventing the bacteria from growing and multiplying. Azithromycin belongs to the macrolide class of antibiotics, which work by binding to the 50S ribosomal subunit of the bacterial ribosome. This interaction interferes with the process of protein synthesis, leading to the inhibition of bacterial growth. By targeting bacterial protein synthesis, azithromycin effectively treats various infections caused by susceptible bacteria.

Common Side Effects

Like any medication, azithromycin can potentially cause certain side effects. However, it is generally well-tolerated and adverse reactions are usually mild and temporary. Common side effects of azithromycin include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, and dizziness. These side effects are typically self-limiting and resolve on their own without requiring medical intervention. It is important to note that allergic reactions to azithromycin are rare but can occur. If you experience any severe or persistent side effects while taking azithromycin, it is important to seek medical attention.

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Trade Names for Azithromycin

Azithromycin is available under various trade names depending on the manufacturer and country. These brand names may differ from one region to another, but the medication’s active ingredient remains the same. Some popular brand names for azithromycin include Zithromax, Azithrocin, Azithromycin-3, Azivista, and Zithrocin. These brand name forms of azithromycin are widely recognized and trusted by healthcare professionals and patients alike.

Azithromycin Generics

In addition to the brand name versions of azithromycin, there are also generic formulations available. Generic drugs contain the same active ingredient as their brand name counterparts but are typically more affordable due to the lack of brand recognition and marketing expenses. Azithromycin generics are usually labeled with the name “azithromycin” followed by the name of the manufacturer. Examples of generic names for azithromycin include Azithral, Azicip, Azee, and Azimax. These generic forms provide an affordable alternative while maintaining the same efficacy and safety profile as the brand name medication.

What is a Generic Name?

A generic name is the official scientific name for a medication’s active ingredient. It is a non-proprietary name that is universally recognized and used by healthcare professionals and drug regulatory agencies worldwide. The generic name of a medication helps to identify and differentiate it from other drugs. Generic names are often derived from the chemical structure or mechanism of action of the drug. They are typically simpler and less complex than the brand name, allowing for easy identification and communication among healthcare professionals.

Azithromycin’s Generic Name

The generic name for azithromycin is simply “azithromycin”. This name accurately represents the medication’s active ingredient without any additional complexities or modifications. As a macrolide antibiotic, azithromycin’s generic name reflects its classification and mechanism of action, making it easily recognizable to healthcare professionals and pharmacists worldwide. The use of the generic name ensures consistency and facilitates proper identification and prescribing of the medication.

Pharmacological Classification

Azithromycin belongs to the macrolide antibiotic class, which is a subgroup of the broader category of antibiotics. Macrolides are characterized by their large macrocyclic lactone ring structure, which distinguishes them from other antibiotic classes. These antibiotics work by inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis, leading to their bacteriostatic or bactericidal effect. Other members of the macrolide class include erythromycin, clarithromycin, and telithromycin. Each macrolide antibiotic may have specific indications and differences in spectrum of activity.

Macrolide Antibiotic Classification

Macrolide antibiotics are further classified based on their chemical structure and modifications. This classification helps to differentiate specific macrolide antibiotics and understand their unique properties. Azithromycin is classified as a 15-membered ring macrolide antibiotic, whereas erythromycin is a 14-membered ring macrolide. These subtle structural differences can contribute to variations in pharmacokinetics, spectrum of activity, and tolerability among different macrolide antibiotics.

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Place in Antibiotic Classes

Within the broader classification of antibiotics, macrolides, including azithromycin, hold a significant place in the treatment of various bacterial infections. They are commonly prescribed for respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, as well as skin and soft tissue infections. Macrolides are particularly useful for patients with penicillin allergies or infections caused by atypical bacteria. Azithromycin’s broad spectrum of activity and favorable safety profile make it a valuable option in the antibiotic armamentarium.

Chemical Name of Azithromycin

The chemical name of azithromycin is (2R,3S,4R,5R,8R,10R,11R,12S,13S,14R)-13-[(2,6-dideoxy-3-C-methyl-3-O-methyl-α-L-ribo-hexopyranosyl)oxy]-2-ethyl-3,4,10-trihydroxy-3,5,6,8,10,12,14-heptamethyl-11-(3,4,6-trideoxy-3-(dimethylamino)-β-D-xylo-hexopyranosyloxy)-1-oxa-6-azacyclopentadecan-15-one. While this chemical name may appear complex, it accurately describes the molecular structure and composition of azithromycin.

Chemical Structure of Azithromycin

The chemical structure of azithromycin consists of a complex arrangement of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur atoms, forming a large macrocyclic lactone ring. This structure gives azithromycin its unique properties and contributes to its mechanism of action. Understanding the chemical structure of azithromycin is crucial for studying its behavior in the body, as well as for the development and synthesis of related compounds.

IUPAC Nomenclature

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) nomenclature system is commonly used to name chemical compounds. According to the IUPAC system, azithromycin’s chemical name can be simplified to “9-deoxo-9a-aza-9a-methyl-9a-homoerythromycin A”. This IUPAC name provides a more concise identifier for azithromycin without sacrificing the accuracy of its chemical composition.

Azithromycin’s Chemical Formula

The chemical formula of azithromycin is C38H72N2O12, representing the number and types of atoms present in a molecule of azithromycin. This formula indicates that azithromycin is composed of 38 carbon atoms, 72 hydrogen atoms, 2 nitrogen atoms, and 12 oxygen atoms. The chemical formula provides a concise representation of azithromycin’s composition, facilitating its identification and study in the field of pharmaceutical chemistry.

Composition of Azithromycin

Azithromycin is a complex molecule composed of various elements arranged in a specific configuration. The compound contains carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur atoms, which combine to form its distinct structure. The precise arrangement and connectivity of these atoms determine azithromycin’s properties and enable it to interact with bacterial ribosomes effectively. Understanding the composition of azithromycin is essential for studying its pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and formulation development.

History and Discovery of Azithromycin

Azithromycin was developed in the 1980s by pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. The drug went through extensive research and clinical trials before gaining approval from regulatory authorities for commercial use. The discovery of azithromycin represented a significant milestone in the field of antibiotics, as it offered improved efficacy and tolerability compared to existing treatments.

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Development and Approval

During the development of azithromycin, researchers aimed to create an antibiotic with enhanced stability, broader spectrum of activity, convenient dosing, and fewer side effects. These goals were successfully achieved through modifications to the molecular structure of erythromycin, an existing macrolide antibiotic. After rigorous testing and evaluation in preclinical and clinical studies, azithromycin received approval from regulatory agencies around the world, allowing it to be marketed and used therapeutically.

Discoverers and Contribution

The discovery and development of azithromycin involved the collective efforts of numerous scientists, researchers, and pharmaceutical experts. Dr. Pliva, a Croatian pharmaceutical company, played a pivotal role in the drug’s development. Additionally, a team of Pfizer scientists, including Dr. Slobodan Djokić, contributed to the synthesis and characterization of azithromycin. The discoveries and contributions made by these individuals have greatly impacted the field of antibiotics and have provided healthcare professionals with a valuable tool in combating bacterial infections.

Azithromycin’s International Nonproprietary Name (INN)

An International Nonproprietary Name (INN) is a unique official name assigned to an active substance by the World Health Organization (WHO). INNs are intended to facilitate the identification, regulation, and prescribing of medications on a global scale. The use of INNs promotes consistency, safety, and effective communication among healthcare professionals and regulatory authorities.

Why INN is Used?

INNs are used to ensure that medications are universally recognized and understood, regardless of the country or region. This standardization allows healthcare professionals to accurately identify and prescribe medications, promotes patient safety, and facilitates the tracking of adverse events and usage patterns. By using the INN, healthcare providers can communicate and collaborate seamlessly, regardless of language or geographical barriers.

Official INN for Azithromycin

The official INN for azithromycin is, unsurprisingly, “azithromycin”. This INN coincides with the generic name of the medication, reinforcing the consistent use and recognition of the drug on a global scale. The official INN for azithromycin facilitates effective communication and ensures that healthcare professionals can accurately identify and prescribe the medication, regardless of their location or language. This standardization contributes to the safe and appropriate use of azithromycin worldwide.

Other Names and Synonyms for Azithromycin

In addition to its brand names, generic name, and INN, azithromycin may also be referred to by various other names and synonyms. These alternate names may arise from local trade names, regional practices, or scientific literature. Some common alternate names for azithromycin include Azithromycine (French), Azitromicina (Spanish), and Azythromycin (German). It is important to recognize these alternate names to ensure proper understanding and communication across different regions and languages.


In conclusion, azithromycin is a versatile and widely used antibiotic medication that effectively treats various bacterial infections. Its mechanism of action, broad spectrum of activity, and favorable safety profile have made it a valuable tool in the fight against infectious diseases. Azithromycin’s brand names, generic name, pharmacological classification, chemical structure, and INN all contribute to its proper identification and use. Understanding the comprehensive overview of azithromycin helps healthcare professionals and patients make informed decisions regarding its appropriate and effective use in the treatment of bacterial infections.