Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Recent Press Coverage Linking Azithromycin to Increased Risk of Sudden Death

The pages linked below are retained for archival purposes only and may not reflect current situations.

Several media outlets have reported on a study that links azithromycin to sudden death. Azithromycin is a commonly used antibiotic, often prescribed to treat respiratory infections, ear infections, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

As the public health agency tasked with researching and developing STD treatment guidelines, we want to take this opportunity to point out that the findings from this study may not necessarily apply to patients who are treated with azithromycin for chlamydia or gonorrhea. It is important to note that a five day regimen of azithromycin was studied and discussed in recent media reports -- not a single dose regimen as recommended for chlamydia or dual therapy for gonorrhea. For additional information about Azithromycin from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, please visit

Do not modify treatment regimens for patients receiving azithromycin for chlamydia and gonorrhea. CDC’s guidance for treating chlamydia and gonorrhea with azithromycin remain as follows:

Recommended Regimens for Treating Chlamydial Infections

Azithromycin 1 g orally in a single dose


Doxycycline 100 mg orally twice a day for 7 days

Recommended Regimens for Treating Uncomplicated Gonococcal Infections of the Cervix, Urethra, and Rectum

Recommended regimen

Ceftriaxone 250 mg IM in a single dose


Azithromycin 1g orally in a single dose


Doxycycline 100 mg orally twice a day for 7 days*

Alternative regimen

If ceftriaxone is not available:

Cefixime 400 mg in a single oral dose


Azithromycin 1 g orally in a single dose


Doxycycline 100 mg orally twice daily for 7 days*


Test-of-cure in 1 week

* Because of the high prevalence of tetracycline resistance among Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project isolates, particularly those with elevated minimum inhibitory concentrations to cefixime, the use of azithromycin as the second antimicrobial is preferred.

The Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010 can be found in its entirety at /std/treatment/2010/.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact 1-800-CDC-INFO.