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Pronunciation: eh-rith-row-MY-sin lack-toe-BYE-oh-nate
Common Brand Name(s): Erythrocin
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
Erythromycin is used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections. It may also be used to prevent certain bacterial infections. Erythromycin is known as a macrolide antibiotic. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria.
This antibiotic treats or prevents only bacterial infections. It will not work for viral infections (such as common cold, flu). Using any antibiotic when it is not needed can cause it to not work for future infections.
This medication is usually given by injection into a vein as directed by your doctor, usually every 6 hours. It should be injected slowly over 20 to 60 minutes. Erythromycin may also be given continuously.
You should use this injectable medication only until you are able to take an antibiotic by mouth or until your treatment is finished. The dosage and length of treatment are based on your medical condition, weight, and response to treatment.
If you are using this medication at home, learn all preparation and usage instructions from your health care professional. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely.
For the best effect, use this antibiotic at evenly spaced times. To help you remember, use this medication at the same time(s) every day.
If you are using this medication to treat an infection, continue to use this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished, even if symptoms disappear after a few days. Stopping the medication too early may result in a return of the infection. Tell your doctor if your condition lasts or gets worse.
If you are using this medication to prevent certain bacterial infections, use it exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not stop using the medication without your doctor's approval.
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea/loose stools, stomach pain, or pain/redness at the injection site may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including:
This medication may rarely cause a severe intestinal condition due to a bacteria called C. difficile. This condition may occur during treatment or weeks to months after treatment has stopped. Tell your doctor right away if you develop:
If you have these symptoms, do not use anti-diarrhea or opioid products because they may make symptoms worse.
Use of this medication for prolonged or repeated periods may result in oral thrush or a new vaginal yeast infection. Contact your doctor if you notice white patches/sores in your mouth, a change in vaginal discharge, or other new symptoms.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using erythromycin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to any other macrolide/ketolide antibiotics (such as clarithromycin, azithromycin); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
Erythromycin may cause live bacterial vaccines (such as typhoid vaccine) to not work well. Tell your health care professional that you are using erythromycin before having any immunizations/vaccinations.
Erythromycin may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away.
The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other drugs that may cause QT prolongation. Before using erythromycin, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take and if you have any of the following conditions:
Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood may also increase your risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if you use certain drugs (such as diuretics/"water pills") or if you have conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting. Talk to your doctor about using erythromycin safely.
Babies may be at higher risk for a certain serious stomach problem. Contact your child's doctor right away if your child vomits or becomes irritable with feeding.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially hearing loss and QT prolongation (see above).
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
This medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include:
Many drugs besides erythromycin and those listed above may affect the heart rhythm (QT prolongation), including amiodarone, disopyramide, dofetilide, gatifloxacin, moxifloxacin, pimozide, procainamide, propafenone, quinidine, sotalol, and thioridazine, among others. Before using erythromycin, report all medications you are currently using to your doctor or pharmacist.
This drug can slow down the removal of other drugs from your body by affecting certain liver enzymes. Some examples of these affected drugs include alfentanil, bromocriptine, buspirone, certain benzodiazepines (alprazolam, midazolam, triazolam), caffeine-containing drugs, cilostazol, corticosteroids (such as prednisone), eplerenone, certain drugs to treat erectile dysfunction-ED or pulmonary hypertension (such as sildenafil, tadalafil), eszopiclone, felodipine, hexobarbital, certain "statin" drugs (such as lovastatin, simvastatin), quetiapine, tacrolimus, tolterodine, vinblastine.
Other medications can affect the removal of erythromycin from your body, which may affect how erythromycin works. Examples include azole antifungals (such as itraconazole, fluconazole), rifamycins (such as rifabutin), quinupristin-dalfopristin, saquinavir, calcium channel blockers (such as diltiazem, verapamil), among others.
This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including urinary catecholamines), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Alberta residents can call PADIS (Poison and Drug Information Service) 24 hours a day at 1-800-332-1414. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Lab and/or medical tests may be done while you are using this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments. Consult your doctor for more details.
It is important to get each dose of this medication as scheduled. If you miss a dose, ask your doctor or pharmacist right away for a new dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
If you have questions about missing a dose or you don't have more medication, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Consult the product instructions and your pharmacist for storage details. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised December 2022.
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