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Side Effects of Roxithromycin

author image Rae Uddin
Rae Uddin has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2004. She specializes in scientific journalism and medical and technical writing. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Uddin earned her Master of Science in integrated biomedical sciences with an emphasis in molecular and cellular biochemistry from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.
Side Effects of Roxithromycin
Headache can occur as a side effect of roxithromycin. Photo Credit Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images


Roxithromycin is a prescription medication indicated to treat certain types of bacterial infections, such as pharyngitis, sinusitis, bronchitis and pneumonia. This medication is part of a class of drugs called macrolides; it works by limiting the growth and spread of bacteria through the body. Roxithromycin is not marketed in the United States as of 2010, but is prescribed by doctors in other regions of the world. Patients should discuss the side effects of roxithromycin with a doctor before beginning treatment with this antibiotic.

Upset Stomach

After taking a dose of roxithromycin, patients can develop upset stomach side effects. These stomach-related symptoms can include stomach pain, nausea or vomiting, according to GlaxoSmithKline Australia, the manufacturer of this medication. Certain patients may also develop diarrhea, which can contribute to sensations of bloating or cramping within the abdomen. Additionally, patients who experience an upset stomach after taking roxithromycan can develop a decreased appetite or altered taste sensations. Patients can limit the severity of these stomach upset side effects if they avoid taking roxithromycin on an empty stomach.

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Skin Rash

Treatment with roxithromycin can cause skin rash side effects in certain patients, warn health professionals with MedSafe, New Zealand's medicine and medical devices safety authority. A patient's skin can appear unusually red or irritated and can become dry and itchy. These side effects of roxithromycin are temporary and subside once treatment ends.

Headache or Fatigue

Headache side effects can arise in patients receiving treatment with this medication, according to medical professionals with SAEPI, the South African Electronic Package Inserts website. Painful headache symptoms are typically mild and can be controlled through the use of an over-the-counter analgesic medication, such as acetaminophen. In addition to headaches, patients taking roxithromycin can experience increased fatigue during treatment. Excessive drowsiness or tiredness can make it difficult for a patient to remain alert and active throughout normal daily activities. These side effects of roxithromycin typically subside with recurrent use of this antibiotic.

Dizziness or Tinnitus

Roxithromycin can cause sensations of dizziness in certain patients, warn health professionals with GSK Australia. Patients who experience episodes of dizziness during treatment can appear unusually confused, disoriented or unstable while standing or walking. Additionally, certain patients can experience abnormal ringing or buzzing sensations within their ears--a side effect of roxithromycin called tinnitus. Tinnitus can be disruptive and may affect a patient's ability to concentrate while at work or school.

Oral or Vaginal Thrush

As an antibiotic, roxithromycin works by killing bacteria within the body. Unfortunately, this medication can also destroy healthy, natural bacteria within a patient's body. When this occurs, patients can develop symptoms of oral or vaginal thrush--a fungal infection caused by the overabundance of a particular type of yeast within the affected body region. Side effects of oral thrush include the appearance of furry, white skin lesions within the mouth, explains MedSafe. Women who develop vaginal thrush can experience intense vaginal itching in conjunction with unusually thick, white vaginal discharge. Patients who develop side effects of thrush while taking roxithromycin should seek further care from a medical professional. Additional antifungal medication may be necessary to resolve thrush symptoms in affected patients.

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