Erythormycin is a medicine that belongs to the group of antibiotics known as macrolides. It is used to attack a wide variety of infections of bacterial origin, mainly of the digestive tract and those that affect the skin and soft tissues, which are caused by microorganisms of the Gram positive family of cocci.

In addition to these infections, it is also used to treat diseases caused by various bacteria such as pneumonia, bronchitis, whooping cough, diphtheria, rheumatic fever, Legionnaires’ disease, lung, intestinal, ear and urinary tract infections.

Erythromycin uses

This antibiotic has multiple uses, especially when treating bacterial infections:

  • Infections associated with the lungs and respiratory tract.
  • It is used to treat urinary tract infections such as urethritis and prostatitis.
  • It can also be used beforehand in some genres of surgical interventions or before an oral procedure to prevent possible infections.
  • In cases of digestive bleeding, it works as a gastric emptying, facilitating endoscopic vision. This use is only allowed in emergencies.
  • It is sometimes used to prevent a heart infection in patients who must undergo a dental or other type of procedure.
  • It is used as an alternative antibiotic in patients allergic to penicillin, since in combination with other medications it produces the same results as it.
  • On the skin and soft tissues (erysipelas, boils, impetigo, abscesses and cellulitis).

Erythromycin to fight acne

The use of this antibiotic for the treatment of acne is similar to the effect that tetracyclines have and is used when they are not tolerated by the patient, the only drawback is that it causes greater antibiotic resistance than tetracyclines. Erythromycin is an effective alternative against Propionibacterium acnes, although it has a lower anti-inflammatory effect and a higher risk of adverse effects.

This drug is prescribed for acne only when there are contraindications to the use of tetracyclines. Generally the dose is 500mg in two doses during the day for a period of 3 weeks

Erythromycin for use in the throat

It is common to use erythromycin to attack infections caused by bacteria in the throat area such as laryngitis, pharyngitis or tonsillitis. It is also indicated in the treatment of diphtheria, an infectious disease caused by Corynebacteriun diphtheriae, which manifests as a throat or nose infection.

What other diseases does erythromycin cure?

The doctor can prescribe it for gastroparesis or other conditions in which there is an incorrect movement of substances through the stomach and intestine, it also attacks Campylobacter enteritis that affects the stomach and intestines.

It is very effective in treating the following diseases: scarlet fever, STDs (syphilis and chlamydia), diphtheria and Lyme disease, also to treat otitis media or external otitis. Finally, it is indicated for infections in the paranasal sinuses such as sinusitis, as well as of the gums (gingivitis), Vincent’s angina and of the eyelids (blepharitis).

Mechanism of action of erythromycin

It works by inhibiting protein synthesis in bacteria by binding to a subunit (50S) of the bacterial ribosome. In this sense, it interferes with the translocation of amino acids throughout translation and protein assembly. Depending on the dose and the microorganism on which it acts, this antibiotic has bacteriostatic and even disinfectant effects.

Recommended dose in erythromycin treatment

Importantly, the dose should be prescribed by the treating physician based on the patient’s condition and the severity of the infection. It is generally indicated in periods of every 6 hours (4 times a day) for periods ranging from 7 to 21 days, although there are infections that require treatment for longer.

In the case of children, it is indicated according to age, weight and severity of the infection. Usually they are doses of 30-50mg / kg per day in 3 or 4 doses or alternatively the daily dose could be divided into 2 doses every 12 hours. The doctor can set a different dosage. It is essential to follow the instructions of the specialist or in any case the label of the medicine.

Depending on the infection you want to treat, these are the doses that are indicated:

250 to 500 mg orally every 6 hours to attack the following bacterial infections:

  • Otitis media. Mycoplasma.
  • Pharyngitis.
  • Pneumonia and bronchitis. Infection in the upper part of the respiratory system.
  • Syphilis and Chlamydia.
  • Campylobacter gastroenteritis.
  • Urethritis of the gonococcus.
  • On the skin or soft tissues.
  • Lyme’s desease.
  • Lymphogranuloma venereum.

In the prophylaxis of rheumatic fever, 250mg twice a day is indicated orally and in the case of bacterial endocarditis 800mg (ethylsuccinate) or 1g (stearate) two hours before the procedure and orally and 6 hours after the initial dose administer half of that amount.

For the treatment of inflammatory acne (mild to moderate) it is recommended to apply a thin layer of the cream or solution to the affected area for 2 times a day for a period of 8 to 12 weeks. For folliculitis, severe petigo, cellulitis and erysipelas, 250mg is indicated in 4 daily doses for a period of 7-10 days.

For patients with moderate to severe acne it will be 250mg in 4 doses a day for 6 to 8 weeks. Then the same dose will be taken in 2 daily doses until improvement is obtained. In this case, a treatment of up to 6 months may be indicated.

Presentations available

This medication comes in capsules, tablets, extended-release capsules which are released into the intestine, preventing stomach acids from breaking it down, delayed-release tablets, suspension, eye ointments, injectable forms, and topicals for the skin.

The tablets and capsules should be taken whole with water preferably, under no circumstances should they be crushed, opened, broken or chewed

Erythromycin suspension

In the case of erythromycin in suspension it is important that before use it is shaken well so that the contents are mixed evenly. Try to measure the dose with the dropper, spoon or measuring cup that comes in the product box, do not use a commonly used spoon.

Erythromycin side effects

If any of the following side effects occur during antibiotic treatment, it is important to inform the treating physician:

  • Stomach aches and pains.
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

Other adverse effects of greater severity may be:

  • Itching, rash, or hives.
  • Pale stools
  • Dark colored urine.
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing.
  • Pain in the upper right area of ​​the stomach.
  • Jaundice in the eyes or on the skin.
  • Slow fast heartbeat, with palpitations.
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Acute diarrhea that includes liquid stools with the presence of blood, which can occur with or without fever and stomach spasms.
  • Seizures

Erythromycin contraindications

  • The use of this medicine is contraindicated in patients with hypersensitivity to erythromycin or any antibiotic from the group of macrolides, and also in those who are taking cisapride, astemizole or terfenadine.
  • Its use should also be avoided in patients with severe liver disease.
  • It is important if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, inform your doctor, who will determine whether or not you can use this antibiotic.
  • If drowsiness or dizziness occurs, avoid driving.
  • No contraindication to alcohol consumption during treatment with this medicine has been determined.


The use of this drug can lead to altered results with certain medical tests, so the specialist must be aware that the antibiotic is being used. These are some of the drugs that can interact with erythromycin:

  • Ciclosporina, colchicina, cilostazol.
  • Tadalafil, sildenafil, avanafil, vardenafil.
  • Alfentanil, bromocriptina, digoxina.
  • Metilprednisolona, teofilina, vinblastina.
  • Valproic acid, carbamazepine, phenytoin.
  • Tacrolimus, alprazolam o triazolam.
  • Warfarina, quinidina, sotalol.
  • Mexiletina, procainamida, propafenona.
  • Dronedarona, ibutilida, flecainida.
  • Simvastatina, lovastatina, atorvastatina.
  • Amiodarone, disopyramide, dofetilide.
  • Amlodipina, verapamilo, diltiazem.

These are just some of the drugs that interact with this antibiotic. It is essential to inform your doctor if you are taking any of the drugs mentioned above to avoid complications.

In conclusion

Erythromycin is widely recommended for the treatment of infections of diverse bacterial origin (respiratory, STD, skin, among others). This type of antibiotic works by slowing the growth or killing bacteria since it reduces the production of proteins that these microorganisms need to survive. It is important to ingest it for the number of days indicated for a better effectiveness on the bacteria.

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