In this semisynthetic macrolide, a nitrogen atom has been inserted into the lactone ring of erythromycin to produce a 15-membered ring structure that is called azalide. Azithromycin has a considerably improved bioavailability and a much extended plasma half-life compared with erythromycin. The antibacterial spectrum is similar to that of erythromycin, although it is marginally more active against some important respiratory pathogens such as H. influenzae and L. pneumophila. The most important property of azithromycin is the long terminal half-life, which enables it to be administered once a day. A single dose is effective in chlamydial and gonococcal infections of the genital tract.



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