Disclaimer: the following information is not meant to replace consultation with your physician or pharmacist. You can also find more information about your medication by reading the patient information leaflet. The mention of any brand is not meant to mention superiority over others.
What is erythromycin?
Erythromycin is a macrolide antibiotic. It works by stopping the growth of the bacteria.
What is erythromycin used for?
It is used to treat a wide range of bacteria infection. It is not effective against viral infections such as common flu.
– 250 mg and 500 mg tablets
– 125 mg/5 ml powder/granules for oral suspension, to be reconstituted with filtered water
You can find it in generic presentation. Common brand names (in Cameroon) include Ery and Erocin
Before you take erythromycin
Let your doctor know:
- If you allergic to erythromycin or other macrolide antibiotics like clarithromycin and azithromycin
- All the medicines and supplements you take.
- If you have liver or kidney disease
- If you have a heart rhythm disorder
- If you suffer from myasthenia gravis (characterized by muscle weakness)
- If you are pregnant, plan to be or breastfeeding.
- If you have an electrolyte imbalance (such low blood levels of potassium or magnesium)
Who should not use erythromycin?
- Do not use if allergic to erythromycin or any other macrolide antibiotic
- Avoid use in newborns less than 2 weeks old
Where can I get erythromycin?
Erythromycin is a prescription drug. This means it will be prescribed to you by your doctor.
Best to buy your local pharmacy and not from street vendors. Prices will differ from one pharmacy to another. Tips on how to save money on your medicines, read here. How to reduce your wait time in a pharmacies, read here.
How should I take erythromycin?
Take as directed by your doctor. Your dosage and duration of treatment will depend on your condition, age and weight (for children). Follow directions on the patient information leaflet that comes with your medication.
Take at the same time time each day preferably on an empty stomach (1 hour before eating or 2 hours after a meal). Complete treatment even if you feel better.
- Drink tablets and capsules with a glass of water. Swallow tablets and capsules whole. Do not crush, chew or split.
- For suspensions: mix powder with filtered water till the mark as indicated on the bottle of your medication. Always shake for 15s before each use. Use the measuring instrument that came with your medication. Do not use kitchen spoons. They are not accurate.
What are the possible side effects of erythromycin?
Like all drugs, use of erythromycin may come with side effects. They range from mild to severe. Not everyone will experience a side effect.
The most common side effects of erythromycin are gastro-intestinal disturbances like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. It may also cause reversible hearing problems.
In the case of an severe allergic, stop medication immediately.
See doctor if
- Severe skin reaction
- Fast heart rate
What should I do in the case of an overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention.
What if I miss a dose?
- As much as possible try not to miss a dose. This could make your infection grow worse and develop resistance (becoming unresponsive to antibiotic).
- If you however miss a dose, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the dose. Do not double up your next time.
- For tips on how to remember to take your medicines, read here
- If you vomit your medication within 30 minutes of taking, take another dose. If after 30 minutes, you do not need to take another dose.
What could affect my medication?
Let your doctor know all medications and supplements (including herbal products) you take. This especially if you take drugs that affect the heart rhythm and QT interval (amiodarone, chloroquine, co-artemether, fluconazole, haloperidol, mefloquine, quinine, etc.).
Erythromycin could also increase levels of carbamezepine and digoxin.
How do I store erythromycin at home?
- Keep out of reach of children. Store in a cool, dry place. Away from heat, light, moisture and rodents.
- Do not use expired drugs. For tips on how to get rid of your expired or damaged drugs, read here.
- For suspensions, do not use after 10 days of opening and mixing.
Medication safety tips
- Do not share your medications even if the other person has similar symptoms.
- Do not use if not prescribed to you even if you are experiencing same symptoms like last time.
- Complete your treatment even if you feel better.
- Avoid misuse of antibiotics
- Always read the patient information leaflet that came with your medication .
About the author
Dr. Ekwoge Hilda is a trained pharmacist from Cameroon and Co-founder of HILPharma. When she is not busy creating content, she slings pills to pay the bills.