What is AZO?
AZO is an analgesic that relieves urinary discomfort caused by a urinary tract infection or catheter use. It is a brand name for phenazopyridine hydrochloride. It eases the pain in the urinary tract by soothing the mucous membranes. However, its exact mechanism remains unknown.
The active ingredient of AZO is quickly processed in the kidneys and then excreted in the urine. It is important to note that AZO cannot fight or get rid of an infection, but only relieves the symptoms of urinary tract infections or irritation. Thus, it will not cure a urinary tract infection, but rather used to ease urinary discomfort caused by an infection.
What is a urinary tract infection?
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be similar to other infections in the body, except the fact that UTIs are localized in the urinary tract. The urinary tract can be divided into two parts:
- Lower urinary tract - comprised of the urethra and bladder
- Upper urinary tract - comprised of the kidneys and ureters that connect to the bladder
A urinary tract infection is commonly caused by harmful microbes, which can be fungi, bacteria, or viruses. The symptoms of a urinary tract infection would often range from painful and burning sensations while urinating to a cloudy urine or pain in the abdomen.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are regarded as one of the most common bacterial infections in women. According to certain studies, more than 50 percent of women have developed a urinary tract infection or its symptoms in their lifetime.
There are various methods of managing UTI symptoms as well as treating the infection. To help reduce the risk of recurrent urinary tract infections, natural treatment methods can be done, which include:
- Increasing water intake
- Always stay clean and dry in the genital area
- Consume probiotic foods
- Take vitamin C
- Use essential oils
Apart from the conventional and natural methods of treating UTIs, AZO has a list of products that can help manage UTI symptoms as well as the infection itself.
AZO Urinary Pain Relief and AZO Maximum Strength
These are over-the-counter products that provide relief from the symptoms of a urinary tract infection. These products do not cure the infection, but only help in managing UTI symptoms.
The AZO Maximum Strength is said to contain more of the active ingredient and provides a maximum relief for UTI symptoms such as urinary urgency and painful or burning sensations while urinating.
Its main ingredient called phenazopyridine hydrochloride directly targets the exact area, which causes discomfort. After taking AZO, quick relief can be achieved within 20 minutes. Moreover, AZO's active ingredient has been considered as the number one ingredient by doctors for any kind of urinary discomfort. Phenazopyridine is basically a dye, which works as a painkiller that soothes the lining of the urinary tract. This medicine can be orally taken three times a day after meals or as directed by the doctor. However, taking AZO also has accompanying side effects, which may include an upset stomach, headache, or dizziness.
AZO Urinary Tract Defense
This is a new AZO product. It is an analgesic and an antibacterial that can help control the progression of a UTI until you see a doctor or a healthcare professional. It contains the active ingredients methenamine and sodium salicylate, which is an NSAID. It provides temporary relief when it comes to urinary urgency or frequency and burning or painful sensations while urinating.
Methenamine is said to be a powerful antibacterial agent that can help slow down the growth of bacteria along the urinary tract lining. It also helps control the infection. The other ingredient called sodium salicylate helps in providing relief from pain.
Before starting on any medication, it is important to inform the doctor about the following things for proper diagnosis and treatment:
- Let the doctor know if you are allergic to phenazopyridine.
- If you are allergic to other drugs, substances, and certain food items.
- If you are taking other medications, which can be prescription medicine, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbal supplements, or dietary supplements.
- Do not suddenly start or stop taking any medicine without consulting your doctor.
- Let the doctor know if you are pregnant, planning to conceive, or nursing a baby.
- Avoid using this medicine if you have kidney problems.
- If you have other medical conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, or G6PD deficiency, which is a genetic enzyme deficiency.
- Inform the doctor when you experience certain symptoms such as a bloody urine, a frequent urge to urinate, or a sudden decrease in the amount of urine passed after taking AZO.
- The active ingredient phenazopyridine present in AZO can make your urine reddish-orange in color. This is quite normal while you are taking AZO and is mostly expected to happen. This side effect is usually harmless and would gradually go away once you stop taking the medicine.
- In the case of diabetic patients, this medicine can lead to the alteration of test results, especially when it comes to urine glucose tests as well as urine ketone tests.
- Individuals who wear soft contact lenses should avoid wearing them when taking AZO. The active ingredient in AZO can lead to the staining or discoloration of contact lenses. Such stain would be something difficult to remove.
AZO should be orally taken three times a day after meals or as directed by the doctor. If an individual is taking AZO along with other medications or antibiotics to manage the symptoms of a UTI or are self-treating, then it should not be taken for more than two days without your doctor's recommendations. In the case of a missed dose, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is already time for another dose, then skip the missed dose and take the next scheduled dose instead. Avoid taking extra doses of the medicine to avoid an overdose.
This medicine should be stored at room temperature and in a tight container. Keep it away from heat, light, and moisture. Moreover, do not freeze the medicine. This medicine should also be kept out of children's reach. Any expired medicines that should be no longer used should be properly disposed of. During the course of treatment with AZO, make sure to drink plenty of fluids unless otherwise instructed by the doctor. AZO should not be used for more than two days unless the doctor has mentioned to take it.
The dosage of AZO would be different for different patients. Thus, it is important to follow the guidelines as mentioned by the doctor. You can also check the label of the medicine for a more detailed information on its usage and dosage.
- Adults and Teenagers - 200 mg three times a day
- Children - The dose is determined by the doctor and is dependent on the weight of the child. The usual dose is 4 mg per kg of body weight and is given three times a day.
Few of the common side effects of AZO are dizziness, headache, and stomach issues. However, these side effects are usually mild and would go away once the body is used to the medicine. If any of these side effects tend to persist, then it is important to immediately notify the doctor. It has been seen that most individuals who have been using this medication have not complained about any of its side effects.
Below are some of the rare but serious side effects of AZO:
- Dark-colored urine
- Abdominal pain
- Kidney problems
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Bloody urine or stools
- Rapid heartbeat
- Unusually feeling tired
- Shortness of breath
Note that these side effects are quite rare to occur. In some cases, individuals may also experience allergic reactions toward the medicine and the symptoms would include:
- Skin rashes
- Severe dizziness
- Breathing problems
- Swellings of the face, throat, tongue, or lips
As previously mentioned, during the course of AZO treatment, avoid wearing the soft contact lenses to avoid permanent staining. There can be other drugs that could possibly cause an interaction if they are taken along with AZO. Thus, it is important to make a list of all your medications and share it with your doctor or pharmacist.