Azithromycin For Traveller's Diarrhoea

Azithromycin offers an effective treatment for traveller's diarrhoea

Six out of ten people will experience diarrhoea in the first week of overseas travels. To be prepared, consider taking a pack of fast-acting Azithromycin with you on your next travels.

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Strength Quantity Price Stock
250mg4 tablets£13.95In Stock
250mg8 tablets£27.35In Stock
Prices exclude a prescription fee. This treatment requires a quick online consultation,
which a doctor will review to determine if a prescription is appropriate.

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What is Azithromycin?

Azithromycin is an antibiotic which is used to treat a variety of bacterial infections. This includes chest, skin and sinus infections, lyme disease and sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia. It is also effective for traveller’s diarrhoea, although this is off-label use

What does Azithromycin do?

Azithromycin is taken to treat infections. It works by attacking the bacteria that cause the infection, killing off the bacteria and clearing away the infection. 

How does Azithromycin treat diarrhoea?

Azithromycin reduces the symptoms of traveller’s diarrhoea and helps you to fight off the illness faster.

How long does Azithromycin take to work?

Azithromycin will usually start to make you feel better after 24 hours, clearing up your diarrhea within 72 hours.

How effective is Azithromycin for diarrhoea?

Azithromycin is very effective for treating diarrhoea. For best results, have the treatment to hand if you are travelling to any at-risk countries including South Asia and South-East Asia and start the treatment when you first notice symptoms. Washing your hands frequently and drinking clean water while abroad will reduce your chances of getting diarrhoea but it can easily be caused by food depending on the food hygiene standards of the country you are visiting. 


Active ingredients

Azithromycin dihydrate is the active ingredient.

Inactive ingredients

Other ingredients contained within the Azithromycin medicine are: dibasic calcium phosphate anhydrous, pregelatinized starch, sodium croscarmellose, magnesium stearate, sodium lauryl sulfate, hypromellose, lactose, titanium dioxide, triacetin and D&C Red #30 aluminum lake.

Please Note: Inactive ingredients may vary between different brands of generic Azithromycin.


Azithromycin dosage for traveller's diarrhoea

The dose will be either 500-1000mg in four tablets.

How to take Azithromycin

Always take Azithromycin as your doctor has prescribed and consult the instructions if you are unsure. How you take it will depend on what infection you are being treated for. For diarrhoea, you may be instructed to take the four tablets in one dose.

Can Azithromycin be crushed or split?

Azithromycin shouldn’t be crushed or split before taking it. Unless the instructions say it’s safe to do so, it’s not a good idea. It can cause the medicine to have less of an effect or cause harm to your stomach. The antibiotic is available in liquid form if you have difficulty swallowing tablets. 

Do I need to finish the course of Azithromycin even if I feel better?

Azithromycin usually comes as a pack of four tablets which is taken as one dose. Always follow the instructions given by your doctor on how to take it, as the length of the antibiotic treatment depends on the infection it is treating.

Side Effects

Azithromycin side effects

Common side effects of Azithromycin may include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea or vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Headaches 
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling tired
  • Altered taste 

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, you should seek immediate medical help:

  • Chest pains or a faster or irregular heartbeat
  • Jaundiced skin or eyes, or pale bowel movements combined with dark urine. These indicate problems with the gallbladder or liver
  • Tinnitus, loss of hearing or vertigo
  • Severe abdominal or back pain 
  • Bloody diarrhoea which is severe and long-lasting


Azithromycin shouldn’t be taken if you are allergic to the antibiotic or if you’ve had an allergic reaction to one in the past, or experienced diarrhoea. The medicine is also not suitable for people with heart, liver or kidney problems, and people with myasthenia gravis or diabetes. 

Drug interactions

Azithromycin might interfere with other medications. Inform your doctor if you are taking: 

  • Indigestion medication 
  • Some migraine treatments 
  • Warfarin (for thinning blood)
  • Ciclosporin or tacrolimus
  • Digoxin
  • Rifabutin 
  • HIV medicine
  • Medicine to reduce cholesterol 

Azithromycin and pregnancy

It’s not recommended to take Azithromycin while you’re pregnant. You should inform your doctor if this is the case so that a more suitable treatment can be given. 

Will Azithromycin affect my contraception?

Azithromycin won’t affect contraception so it’s fine to take the pill alongside the antibiotic treatment.

Azithromycin and alcohol

It’s fine to drink alcohol when you are taking Azithromycin but it could make you more likely to feel sleepy or dizzy.

How to cope with Azithromycin side effects

It’s important to rehydrate while suffering from diarrhoea. If taking Azithromycin is making you feel sick, avoid eating anything too rich or spicy. Make sure you still eat regular meals even if your appetite is lacking. If you experience headaches, drink plenty of water and take a painkiller if necessary. Rest up and don’t overexert yourself if you have dizzy spells.

Treatment Options

Alternatives to Azithromycin

Non-antibiotic Prophylaxis may be given as a preventative measure for people with a pre-existing condition such as inflammatory bowel disease or diabetes. Rehydration salts can be used to treat the dehydration experienced as a result of diarrhoea. Antimotility agents like Loperamide and Bismuth subsalicylate are over the counter treatments which can help with the symptoms of diarrhoea while travelling. These medicines should be used with caution and are not suitable for people with inflammatory powel disease or those displaying feverish symptoms. 


Is Azithromycin preventive or curative?

Azithromycin functions as a cure as it kills off infectious bacteria. In some cases, it can be used to prevent recurring chest infections. It can only be used in this way if you know you are going to experience an infection. 

Is Azithromycin an antibiotic?

Yes, azithromycin is an antibiotic. 

How will I know if Azithromycin is working?

You’ll know that azithromycin is working because your diarrhoea will clear up and you’ll stop having symptoms. 

Will diarrhoea affect my contraception effectiveness?

If you get diarrhoea while on the pill you may not be protected against pregnancy. This will depend on the severity of your symptoms. If you’ve experienced more than four watery stools within 24 hours and your illness lasts for longer than this it’s likely that your pill has not been digested properly. In this case, you should keep taking the contraceptive pill as usual but use additional contraception, such as condoms, for an additional seven days after you stop having symptoms.

Do I have to finish the course even after symptoms have resolved?

You should follow the instructions provided by your doctor or pharmacist to make sure you get the full effects of the medicine. If you don’t take the full course as prescribed, the bacteria that caused your diarrhoea might still be present which could cause symptoms to recur. 

Are there any other uses for Azithromycin?

Azithromycin is used for several bacterial infections. For example, chest infections, lyme disease, chlamydia and gonorrhoea. 

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I moved 150 miles from my GP (to uni) and was unable to go home or visit a walk in for another 2 days due to being at work (12.5 hour shifts). I filled out a quick form - and 1.5 days later I had my antibiotics delivered to my door and I am on the mend. 10/10.