ATC codes: J01FA10
Trachoma ICD11 code: 1C63.Z
Medicine type
Chemical agent
Antibiotic groups
List type
Core Only listed for trachoma.
Oral > Liquid: 200 mg per 5 mL oral liquid
Oral > Solid: 250 mg (anhydrous) capsule ; 500 mg (anhydrous) capsule
EML status history
First added in 2003 (TRS 920)
Changed in 2007 (TRS 950)
Also recommended for children
Therapeutic alternatives
The recommendation is for this specific medicine
Patent information
Patents have expired in most jurisdictions
Summary of evidence and Expert Committee recommendations
Azithromycin was added to the core list of the first EMLc in 2007 for the treatment of trachoma. As pneumonia is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality, the Secretariat commissioned a review of antibiotics for the treatment of upper and lower respiratory tract infections. The EMLc Subcommittee considered the reviews for each of the antibiotics in the relevant Sections. The clinical data summarized in the review suggest that there is no evidence for superiority of azithromycin versus erythromycin (or clarithromycin) or beta lactams. It would therefore seem appropriate to continue to restrict use to the currently specified indication of trachoma, noting that it is not licensed for this purpose and the Cochrane review on this topic is inconclusive regarding the value of antibiotics.