How Long Do My Meds Last? A Look at Azithromycin

(They may last longer than you think)

Azithromycin is a type of macrolide antibiotic. It works by decreasing the production of protein and stopping bacterial growth. Other macrolide antibiotics include clarithromycin and erythromycin.

Because of the anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties of Azithromycin, this antibiotic was used extensively for mild to moderate symptoms of Covid during the pandemic; however, a study published by the American Family Physician showed no difference in symptoms or mortality when compared to a placebo in hospitalized patients(patients with severe symptoms).

Azithromycin is listed in the World Health Organization Model List of Medications for the newly released 2023 edition:

FIRST CHOICE (From WHO 2023 List)

  • Cholera
  • Enteric fever
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Trachoma (a contagious bacterial infection of the eye in which there is inflamed granulation on the inner surface of the lids)
  • Yaws (a tropical infection of the skin, bones, and joints caused by the spirochete bacterium)


  • Acute invasive bacterial diarrhea
  • Dysentery
  • Gonorrhea

In addition, Azithromycin can be used to treat

  • Pneumonia and
  • Urinary tract infections

How long does Azithromycin remain potent?

The potency of antibiotics can be affected by factors such as temperature, light, moisture, and storage conditions. Inappropriate storage and transportation of antibiotics may lead to loss of potency earlier than the expiry date. Keep dry and at stable room temperature away from light.

Expiration dates reflect when the product is expected to remain stable or retain its identity, strength, quality, and purity when properly stored according to its labeled storage conditions.

According to the Shelf-Life Extension Program, a joint initiative of the FDA and Department of Defense that tested 122 drugs for potency after their expiration date revealed that erythromycin powder, a macrolide antibiotic in the same family as Azithromycin, retained its potency up to 83 months (over 7 years). Given that powder forms of antibiotics lose potency sooner than tablet form, this family of antibiotics may likely retain its potency past 7 years.

It is a general consensus that even though antibiotics are safe to take past their expiration date, they may lose potency.

How to take

Azithromycin is usually taken once a day.

Take capsules whole with a large glass of water and 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals.

Side effects

Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and an upset stomach.

An allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis, QT prolongation, or a type of diarrhea caused by Clostridium difficile is possible.

What to avoid

Do not take Azithromycin if you have hypersensitivity or allergy to erythromycin or other macrolide antibiotics.

Do not take antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium within 2 hours before or after you take Azithromycin, as these can make it less effective. This includes Gaviscon, Maalox, Milk of Magnesia, Mylanta, Pepcid Complete, Rolaids, and others. These antacids can make Azithromycin less effective when taken at the same time.

Consult with your care provider before taking if you have:

  • Liver disease.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Myasthenia gravis.
  • A heart rhythm disorder.
  • Low levels of potassium in your blood.
  • Long QT syndrome (in you or a family member).

Seek medical attention if you experience:

  • Allergic reaction to Azithromycin: (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat)
  • Severe skin reaction: (fever, sore throat, burning in your eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling)

- Brooke Lounsbury, RN

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

Recent Posts

Keeping you informed and safe.

How do Antibiotics Work? Part 4

The best way to take antibiotics is to never need them. But that isn’t always an option. However, there are some steps you can take to strengthen your immune system so that you and your loved ones can fight off illness. The recent outbreak of deaths from group A strep– which is usually treated with Amoxicillin, is currently in short supply. This highlights the fragility of our nations drug supply. Check this site for current drug shortages- if a medication you are taking is on the list contact your care provider to get your medications refilled, and if available ask for a years supply of your meds.

8 tips to strengthen your immune system

  1. Get good quality sleep

According to the Sleep foundation good quality sleep enhances both the innate and adaptive immune system responses. Non rapid eye movement, known as NREM is deep sleep slows the body’s processes allowing more energy to be directed at healing. Sleep is such an important topic that it really needs its own post.

  1. Cut back on sugar

Professor of immunobiology at Yale, Ruslan Medzhitov performed experiments on mice- after infecting the mice with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes he fed one group fat and proteins. They lived. The group he fed simple carbohydrates died.  Conversely, when the mice were infected with an influenzas virus and fed fats and proteins, they were more likely to die compared to the mice fed simple carbohydrates. In other words, balance is the key. If unsure if you have a viral or bacterial infection it is best to just cut out excess sugar.

  1. Increase fresh fruits and vegetables

Up to 80% of our immune system is housed in lymphoid tissue in your intestines, It is called gut associated lymph tissue (GALT) By eating fiber rich foods the beneficial bacteria help the immune system do its job. In addition, a study found that eating a diverse diet high in fiber rich foods can help combat antibiotic resistance. There needs to be more research in this area of study, however initial results are promising.

In addition, several varieties of mushrooms are known to improve immune system function and are being studied for their cancer fighting properties.

  1. Drink plenty of water

Water helps flush toxins out of the body, both through elimination and mucus membranes.

The bloodstream is comprised mostly of water. To help the body fight infection keeping hydrated helps the white blood cells do their job- fight infections.

  1. Avoid alcohol and smoking

Both can decrease immunity

  1. Keep your vitamin D levels up

Vitamin D is well known to help fight infections. Be sure that when you take vitamin D (which is really not a vitamin, it is a steroid hormone) be sure to add vitamin K2, also known as MK 7, This is important, because this helps avoid calcium buildup in your arteries.

  1. Reduce and manage stress

Stress raises our cortisol levels which in turn suppresses the immune response to pathogenic invaders.

  1. Exercise to boost immunity

Research shows that 20–40 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day is adequate to provide a positive boost to the immune system. Exercise helps circulate the infection fighting cells in the body.

If you still need an antibiotic Jase has you covered

The 5 antibiotics in the Jase case can cover a wide range of bacterial illnesses. If in doubt contact Jase provider for guidance, part of the outstanding service Jase offers is unlimited follow up for questions about antibiotic use.

 Let’s take a look at some of the infections Jase antibiotics cover:

  • Amoxicillin-clavulanate 875 mg tablets (28 tablets)

When amoxicillin is not available due to current shortages this antibiotic can be substituted. Other uses include group A strep, sinusitis, pneumonia, ear infections, bronchitis, urinary tract infections, and infections of the skin

  • Azithromycin 250 mg tablets (6 tablets)

Bacterial pneumonia, ear and sinus infections, skin infections, Travelers diarrhea, urinary tract infection

  • Ciprofloxacin 500 mg tablets (28 tablets)

Bioterrorism infections from anthrax, Tularemia or plague exposure

Travelers diarrhea

  • Doxycycline 100 mg capsules (120 capsules)

Bioterrorism infections from anthrax, Tularemia, or plague exposure

Skin infection, tetanus, bites (animal or human)

  • Metronidazole 500 mg tablets (30 tablets)

bacterial vaginosis, diarrhea (caused by giardia and clostridioides difficile), giardiasis, tetanus, and trichomoniasis


- Brooke Lounsbury

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

Recent Posts

Keeping you informed and safe.

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