Active Ingredients

Roxithromycin – Effect, Application & Risks


The drug roxithromycin belongs to the macrolide antibiotics . It is used to treat various bacterial infections .

What is Roxithromycin?

Roxithromycin is used as an antibiotic to fight bacterial infections. These primarily include diseases of the upper respiratory tract . Roxithromycin belongs to the group of glycosides and is a macrolide. Macrolide antibiotics are similar in their effect to penicillin and are considered to be well tolerated. For this reason, they are an excellent alternative in the event of a penicillin allergy. Furthermore, macrolides are often used in paediatrics.

The development of roxithromycin took place in the 1980s by the German pharmaceutical company Hoechst AG. The active ingredient was considered a further development of the macrolide antibiotic erythromycin . Due to chemical changes, roxithromycin shows fewer interactions and has broader antibacterial activity than other antibiotics. The macrolide came onto the market in 1987. After patent protection expired, various generics were released.

Roxithromycin can be obtained from pharmacies , but requires a prescription.

Pharmacological effect on body & organs

Just like the cells of humans and animals, the cells of bacteria are also equipped with genetic material. This DNA acts as the blueprint for the proteins that carry out many important activities within the cell. Roxithromycin has the property of having an inhibitory effect on ribosomes . These are cell complexes in which the DNA is translated into proteins. This process stops the growth and multiplication of the bacteria.

There are major differences in the ribosomes of bacteria and humans. This has the advantage that the bacteria can be precisely eliminated by the roxithromycin. In addition, the macrolide antibiotic causes relatively few side effects .

If the patient has taken the roxithromycin, two-thirds of the active substance enters the blood via the intestine . After two hours, the highest level of the antibiotic in the organism occurs. The skin , lungs and urinary tract are particularly susceptible to roxithromycin . In addition, the drug can accumulate in the immune cells. These reach the bacterial infection site via the bloodstream.

Medicinal Application & Use for Treatment & Prevention

Roxithromycin is administered against various bacterial infections and against diseases for which streptococci are responsible. These are primarily diseases of the respiratory tract or the ear, nose and throat region, such as tonsillitis , inflammation of the pharynx , colds that are accompanied by congestion, whooping cough , acute or chronic bronchitis and pneumonia .

However, roxithromycin can also be used to treat inflammation of the bladder or vagina caused by bacterial species such as mycoplasma or chlamydia . The macrolide antibiotic is also suitable for the treatment of soft tissue inflammation or skin infections. These include erysipelas , impetigo contagiosa (pus itch), hair follicle inflammation or pus rash.

Roxithromycin is taken in tablet form. Dosage and duration of treatment depend on the type and extent of the disease. The sensitivity of the germ also plays an important role. A dose of 150 milligrams of roxithromycin twice a day is usual. The patient takes this every 12 hours before eating, so that the total daily dose is 300 milligrams. A smaller amount is given to children who weigh less than 40 kilograms and to patients with liver impairment.

The intake of roxithromycin is subject to a time limit and usually lasts 5 to 14 days. The treatment should be stopped completely. This also applies if the symptoms recede, otherwise there is a risk of the disease recurring.

Risks & side effects

Adverse side effects from taking roxithromycin occur in 1 to 10 out of 100 patients. These primarily include headaches , dizziness , nausea, nausea , vomiting , diarrhea , stomach pains and swelling and reddening of the skin . One in 100 patients will also experience an itchy rash , hypersensitivity reactions or an increase in leukocytes (the white blood cells ).

Because beneficial bacteria are also killed by roxithromycin, there is occasionally a risk of superinfection with yeast fungi . This occurs primarily on the mucous membrane of the mouth or vagina. By destroying the bacteria, the fungus has an easier time spreading.

Other rare side effects include swelling of the joints , tongue or larynx , fever , hives , feelings of weakness , breathing problems , tinnitus , bile stasis , jaundice , odor disorders , taste disorders , inflammation of the pancreas , cramps or Stevens-Johnson syndrome in the area of ​​the possible. In the worst case, there is a risk of life-threatening anaphylactic shock .

Roxithromycin should not be used at all if the patient suffers from hypersensitivity to the active ingredient or other macrolide antibiotics. The product is also not suitable for children who weigh less than 40 kilograms.

In addition, it is important to ensure that roxithromycin is not taken together with dihydroergotamine or ergotamine . This means there is a risk of severe narrowing of the blood vessels . Furthermore, life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias are threatened by the joint administration of the macrolide with astemizole , pimozide , terfenadine and cisapride .

Roxithromycin is also considered unsuitable for people who have low levels of magnesium or potassium in their blood . They are also at risk of cardiac arrhythmia.

A careful balancing of risk and benefit of roxithromycin is required in case of hepatic dysfunction . The same applies to the use of the macrolide during pregnancy and breastfeeding . The harmlessness of the drug could not be proven in these phases. Also, roxithromycin can pass into breast milk , transferring the antibiotic to the baby.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.