Compare Azithromycin vs. Bactrim

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Zithromax
(azithromycin)

Bactrim
(sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim)

Kills bacteria. Zithromax (Azithromycin) is good for treating many bacterial infections. It is also available as generic. Talk to your doctor if you've ever had liver disease, myasthenia gravis, or on medications to thin the blood, as the doctor may write an alternative.Kills bacteria. Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim) is good for treating many bacterial infections and is available as a generic. However, you can be more likely to sunburn.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.45Azithromycin
Reviews for Azithromycin
74%
of people (All ages) say Azithromycin is worth it
59%
say it works well
11%
say it's a big hassle
909 reviews
Have you used Zithromax (azithromycin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Bactrim
59%
+15% better vs. Azithromycin
49%
+10% better vs. Azithromycin
22%
+11% better vs. Azithromycin
473 reviews
Have you used Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
AzithromycinBactrim
  • Diarrhea 5%
  • Nausea 3%
  • Abdominal pain 3%
  • Vomiting 6%
  • Rash 2%
  • Vaginitis 2%
More Azithromycin side effects »

The Bactrim FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Bactrim side effects »
How it works
AzithromycinBactrim
Zithromax (Azithromycin) is an antibiotic. It kills bacteria by preventing them from reproducing and repairing themselves.Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim) is a combination antibiotic that contains sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. It kills bacteria.
Type of medication
AzithromycinBactrim
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
AzithromycinBactrim
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Eye drops
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for
AzithromycinBactrim
Risk factors for serious side effects
AzithromycinBactrim
  • History of liver disease
  • History of myasthenia gravis
Detailed Zithromax (azithromycin) risks & warnings »
  • Elderly
  • Taking other medicines that lower kidney function
Detailed Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Food
AzithromycinBactrim
  • Can take with or without food.
  • Can be taken with or without food.
No food related info.
Kidneys and liver
AzithromycinBactrim
  • There have been reports of liver damage that can require hospitalization or can cause death. These have been rare. Talk to your doctor if you notice pain in your abdomen, loss of appetite, yellowing of your skin or eyes, or dark colored urine.
  • Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim) can harm your kidneys, especially if you're taking anti-inflammatory pain relievers like Motrin or Advil or other medicines that also affect your kidneys. Make sure to drink plenty of water or fluids while you're taking Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim).
Pain
AzithromycinBactrim
  • Can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.
No pain related info.
Upsides and benefits
AzithromycinBactrim
  • Available in generic.
  • Available in different forms: tablet, capsule, and suspension.
  • Used to treat many types of bacterial infections.
  • Less resistance seen in bacteria to this antibiotic. Your doctor may run tests to see which antibiotics will kill the bacteria causing your infection.
  • Can be taken with or without food.
  • Widely available as a generic product and in a variety of formulations (tablet, capsule, suspension).
  • Works well to treat many types of bacterial infections
Downsides and risks
AzithromycinBactrim
  • Must space out antacids by at least 2 hours.
  • Has to be used with caution in people who've had liver disease.
  • Can't be used in people who've had myasthenia gravis.
  • Must be used with caution in people who are on medications to thin the blood (anticoagulants) because of increased risk of bleeding.
  • Can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.
  • Makes you sensitive to the sun.
  • Can upset your stomach
  • Drink plenty of water or fluids to avoid harming your kidneys
  • May cause birth defects
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
AzithromycinBactrim
  • Take the medication exactly how your doctor tells you to.
  • Can cause diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
  • Space out any antacids with magnesium or aluminum by at least 2 hours.
  • Can take with or without food.
  • Take Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim) exactly the way your doctor tells you.
  • Can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun or wear protection while under the sun.
  • Drink plenty of water or liquids while on Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim) to avoid harming your kidneys.
  • Can cause upset stomach.
  • Can cause an allergic reaction. Talk to your doctor if you notice skin rash or swelling of your face.
Learn more
More about AzithromycinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Zithromax (azithromycin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about BactrimSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it