|Type of medicine||Macrolide antibiotic|
|Used for||Prevention and treatment of infection
Treatment of chronic prostatitis
Treatment of acne and rosacea
|Also called||Erythromycin (as stearate)
Erythromycin ethyl succinate
Erythroped®, Erythroped A®
Erythromycin is used to treat and prevent infections affecting the mouth, intestine, urinary tract, respiratory-tract and skin. It stops bacteria multiplying by disrupting their growth. Erythromycin is also used to treat chronic prostatitis (long term inflammation of the prostate) which may be due to a previous infection.
Erythromycin can be used as an alternative to penicillin in patients who are allergic to penicillin.
Erythromycin is also available as a skin preparation. More information on this is available in a separate leaflet called Erythromycin (topical).
Before taking erythromycin
Before taking erythromycin make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you have liver or kidney problems.
- If it has been prescribed for a baby under 2 weeks old.
- If you suffer from the rare blood disorder called porphyria.
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine.
How to take erythromycin
- Before beginning treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet.
- Take erythromycin exactly as directed by your doctor or dentist.
- You must take erythromycin at regular intervals and complete the course you have been given, even if you feel well.
- Swallow erythromycin tablets and capsules whole, with a glass of water. Do not chew them.
- It is not important whether you take erythromycin before or after meals.
- Try to take erythromycin at the same times each day to avoid missing any doses.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
- If you are taking erythromycin to treat acne or rosacea, it is quite normal for your treatment to continue for several weeks or months.
Getting the most from your treatment
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with erythromycin.
- If you have been prescribed erythromycin tablets or capsules, do not take indigestion remedies at the same time of day as this medicine. Take them at least two hours before or after the dose of erythromycin as they can affect the coating on your tablets or capsules which stops the erythromycin from being released correctly.
- If you are using hormonal contraception (the 'pill'), the current advice (January 2011) is that additional contraceptive precautions such as condoms are not required during a course of this antibiotic unless you are sick or have diarrhoea. If you need further advice, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
- This antibiotic may stop the oral typhoid vaccine from working. If you are having any vaccinations, make sure the person treating you knows that you are taking this medicine.
Can erythromycin cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, all medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this|
|Feeling or being sick||Eat little and often. Stick to simple foods|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids. If the diarrhoea continues or is severe, speak with your doctor|
|Abdominal discomfort||Take your doses after a meal or a snack|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store erythromycin
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
- If you or your child have been given the suspension, this will have been made up by the pharmacy and have a limited shelf life. The expiry and storage conditions may vary between products. Check the expiry date on the bottle and do not use it after this date.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 60th Edition (September 2010) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Erymax® Capsules; Manufacturer's PIL, Erymax® Capsules, Cephalon (UK) Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated October 2010.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Hui Teoh|
|Last Checked: 20/04/2011||Document ID: 3340 Version: 24||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.