Azithromycin (Zithromax) is an antibiotic with immunomodulatory factors used to treat mild to moderate bacterial infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, sexually transmitted diseases and others (chlamydiae pneumoniae, mycoplasma pneumoniae, streptococcus pneumoniae,etc). It’s ability to suppress the NF-kB transcription factor responsible for the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines indicates it has immuno-modulating properties as well. Azithromycin ability to cross the blood:brain barrier makes it a potentially important drug in fighting bacterial central nervous system infections.
Azithromycin May Work in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Because it may dampen down an overactive immune system and/or it may fight a bacterial infection. Some chronic fatigue syndrome patients are reported to have chlamydiae and mycoplasma infections and some researchers believe undetected central nervous system infections play an important role in the disease.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Studies – One small study (10 patients) suggested that azithromycin’s effectiveness was strongly tied to levels of the amino acid acetylcarnitine; 77% of azithromymcin recipients with plasma acetylcarnitine levels lower than 4.1 uM improved, 58% with levels between 4.1 and 6.5 uM and 31% with levels higher than 3.1 uM did. Improvement was assessed as being ‘out of the range of the previous fluctuations of symptoms’. The researchers suggested azithromycin’s efficacy was due either to its antibacterial effects or by reducing immune activity probably in the glial cells that protect the neurons in brain.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Doctors Report – Dr. DeMeirleir reported that both he and Dr. Nicholson have positive results with Azithromycin.
Side Effects – Azithroymycin (Zithromax) is generally well tolerated. Most side effects are gastrointestinal in nature and include nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Serious allergic reactions and jaundice are rare but can occur.
The Phoenix Rising website is compiled by a layman. It is not a substitute for a physician and is for informational uses only. It does not present complete information on this drug. Please discuss any treatments in these pages with your doctor.
Vermeulen, R. and H. Sholte. 2006. Azithromycin in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS): an analysis of clinical data. Journal of Translational Medicine 4: 43.