Why is this medication prescribed?
Erythromycin is an antibiotic used to treat certain infections
caused by bacteria, such as bronchitis; diphtheria; Legionnaires'
disease; pertussis (whooping cough); pneumonia; rheumatic fever;
venereal disease (VD); and ear, intestine, lung, urinary tract, and
skin infections. It is also used before some surgery or dental work
to prevent infection. Antibiotics will not work for colds, flu, or
other viral infections. This medication is sometimes prescribed for
other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to
erythromycin, azithromycin (Zithromax), clarithromycin (Biaxin),
dirithromycin (Dynabac), or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and
nonprescription medications you are taking, especially other
antibiotics, anticoagulants ('blood thinners'), astemizol
(Hismanal), carbamazepine (Tegretol), cisapride (Propulsid),
clozapine (clozaril), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), digoxin
(Lanoxin), disopyramide (Norpace), ergotamine, felodipine
(Plendil), lovastatin (Mevacor), phenytoin (Dilantin), pimozide
(Orap), terfenadine (Seldane), theophylline (Theo-Dur), triazolam
(Halcion), and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver disease,
yellowing of the skin or eyes, colitis, or stomach problems.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or
are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking
erythromycin, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the
doctor or dentist that you are taking erythromycin.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Take erythromycin at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals. Do
not take this medication with, or just after, fruit juices or
carbonated drinks. Certain brands of erythromycin may be taken with
meals; check with your doctor or pharmacist.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is
almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue
your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up
for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Erythromycin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of
these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- stomach cramps
- mild skin rash
- stomach pain
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor
- severe skin rash
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- dark urine
- pale stools
- unusual tiredness
- vaginal infection
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed,
and out of reach of children. Store the capsules and tablets at
room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the
bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer
needed. Keep liquid medicine in the refrigerator, closed tightly,
and throw away any unused medication after 14 days. Do not freeze.
Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your
doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to
erythromycin. Do not let anyone else take your medication. Your
prescription is probably not refillable. If you still have symptoms
of infection after you finish the erythromycin, call your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the
prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you
are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or
other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each
time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is
also important information to carry with you in case of