What is Erythromycin?

Erythromycin is an antibiotic medicine that belongs to the group of antibiotics called macrolides.

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Uses of Erythromycin

Erythromycin is an antibiotic which is generally used in a wide variety of infections caused by bacteria, such as infection in tonsils, sinus, skin, infections of ear, nose, and throat, respiratory tract and lungs (pneumonia), and prevention of bacterial endocarditis and attacks of rheumatic fever.

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How does Erythromycin work?

Erythromycin belongs to the class of macrolide antibiotics which interferes with the synthesis of essential proteins in bacteria, causing complete cessation of bacterial growth.

How to Take Erythromycin?

Erythromycin usually comes in the form of a tablets & suspensions (which has to taken by mouth, eye drops, and injectable forms. Every possible formulation might not be listed here.

Erythromycin tablets / suspensions are usually taken by mouth with a glass of water as directed by your doctor, usually once daily with or without food. For best results, Erythromycin must be taken at evenly spaced times.

Shake the suspension liquid well before each use to mix the medication evenly. Use a measuring cup to consume the correct dosage of medicine.

The usage of Erythromycin must be continued until the prescribed dosage is finished, even if your symptoms disappear.

Common Dosage For Erythromycin?

The drug dosage and form is decided by the physician based upon:

  • age and body weight of the patient
  • health status/medical condition of the patient
  • disease severity
  • reaction to the first dose
  • history of allergy/drug reactions
  • tablets / suspensions

A typical adult dosage is 250 mg every 6 hours or 500 mg every 12 hours. The maximum daily dose is 4 g.

When To Avoid Erythromycin & precautions to take?

Erythromycin doesn’t work in case of viral infections (such as flu, common cold)). Unnecessary use of antibiotic must be avoided because it decreases its efficacy.

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Side-effects of Erythromycin?

  • Most common adverse effects are diarrhea, nausea, upper stomach pain and vomiting.
  • It can also cause headache with chest pain, dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeats; fever, sore-throat, dark urine, clay-colored stools and jaundice. fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat, other known side effects include itching, swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs, extreme tiredness, unusual muscle weakness or difficulty with muscle control, pink and swollen eyes.
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Effects on organs?

Dose modification is required in patients suffering from liver and kidney diseases.

Reported Allergic Reactions?

Possible allergic reactions reported are rashes, difficulty breathing or swallowing, swelling, hoarseness, and photosensitivity.

Drug Interactions To Be Careful About

  • All the possible drug interactions might not be listed here. It is always advised that the patient must inform the physician about of all the drugs/products you use.
  • You must inform your doctor if you are on
  • alfentanil
  • alfuzosin
  • alprazolam
  • amiodarone
  • amlodipine
  • astemizole
  • atorvastatin
  • azithromycin
  • antifungal medicines such as ketoconazole, itraconazole
  • bromazepam
  • bromocriptine
  • buspirone
  • carbamazepine
  • chloramphenicol
  • cisapride
  • clindamycin
  • clobazam
  • clonazepam
  • clopidogrel
  • clozapine
  • colchicine
  • corticosteroids (e.g., methylprednisolone, prednisone, dexamethasone)
  • cyclosporine
  • dabigatran
  • diazepam
  • digoxin
  • dihydroergotamine
  • diltiazem
  • disopyramide
  • divalproex
  • doxepin
  • dronedarone
  • eplerenone
  • ergotamine
  • felodipine
  • fentanyl
  • fexofenadine
  • flurazepam
  • grapefruit juice
  • lincomycin
  • levofloxacin
  • lovastatin
  • loxapine
  • maprotiline
  • mefloquine
  • methadone
  • methysergide
  • midazolam
  • moxifloxacin
  • norfloxacin
  • phenytoin
  • phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (e.g., sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil)
  • pimozide
  • propafenone
  • protease inhibitors
  • quetiapine
  • quinidine
  • quinine
  • rifabutin
  • rifampin
  • risperidone
  • salmeterol
  • simvastatin
  • sirolimus
  • sotalol
  • SSRIs (e.g., citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline)
  • tacrolimus
  • telithromycin
  • terfenadine
  • tetrabenazine
  • theophylline derivatives (e.g., theophylline, aminophylline, oxtriphylline)
  • thioridazine
  • topotecan
  • triazolam
  • tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, nortriptyline)
  • trimipramine
  • valproic acid
  • verapamil
  • vinca alkaloid antineoplastic agents (e.g., vinblastine, vincristine, vinorelbine)
  • warfarin
  • ziprasidone
  • zopiclone
  • Antacids that contain magnesium or aluminium generally are known to markedly reduce the absorption of Erythromycin in the body. Therefore, it must be taken minimum 2 hours before / after taking Erythromycin.
  • You must not take any immunizations or vaccinations while using Erythromycin unless your doctor tells you to.
  • You must also inform about the herbal products that you are consuming.. You must not modify the drug regimen without your doctor’s approval

Shows Effects / Results In:

You should start to feel recovered during the first few days of treatment with Erythromycin.

A complete dose prescribed by your doctor must be taken for complete cessation of infection from your body (even if the symptoms disappear).

Pro Tips When Taking Erythromycin

  • Always inform your doctor if you are allergic to Erythromycin, clarithromycin, dirithromycin or any other ingredients in Erythromycin tablets or suspension.
  • always inform your doctor if you have ever had jaundice or any other liver problems while taking Erythromycin or if there is a history of liver/kidney disease
  • Always inform your doctor if you or anyone in your family has a history of irregular heartbeat, heart failure, fainting, or sudden death or a blood infection; cystic fibrosis; myasthenia gravis, kidney or liver disease.
  • If vomiting happens within an hour after taking Erythromycin, call your doctor right away.
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Storage instructions –

Erythromycin should be stored a cool & dry environment, away from direct light and heat.

Frequently asked questions

Is Erythromycin Addictive?


Can I have Erythromycin with alcohol?


Any particular food item to be avoided?


Can I have Erythromycin When Pregnant?

Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Since there are no well-controlled studies done on effects of Erythromycin in pregnant women, Erythromycin should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.

Can I have Erythromycin when feeding a baby?

Always inform your doctor if you are breast-feeding your child.

There is evidence that Erythromycin might be excreted in human breast milk.

Can I drive after taking Erythromycin?

Some studies suggest that Erythromycin could lead to impaired driving ability in few people, especially females who are more than 60 years of age and have been on the drug for more than 2-5 years and have been on anti-depressant, anti-hypertensive drugs too.

What happens if I overdose on Erythromycin?

An overdose of Erythromycin might cause irregular heart rhythm or liver damage. If you have taken an over-dose, it is advisable to contact your consulting physician immediately.

What happens if I eat expired Erythromycin?

The antibiotic may not work as well. Please inform your physician regarding the same.

What happens if I miss a dose of Erythromycin?

The medicine may not work well if you miss a dose because for effective working of the drug, a certain amount of drug must be present in your body at all times.

Always consume the missed dose as soon as you remember it. But, if it’s already time to take the second dose after that – do not take double dose.

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