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Molecule Description

Erythromycin is a Macrolide class of antibiotics used for the treatment of specific kinds of bacterial infections. It is a higher antibiotic and does not work on cold, flu or any viral infections.

Uses of Erythromycin

Erythromycin is used for the prevention and treatment of bacterial infections caused by bacteria.

Contraindications of Erythromycin

When should one not use Erythromycin

  • It is not used in patients who suffer from heart-related disorders like irregular heartbeats, kidney or liver problems, muscle diseases, those who are allergic to Erythromycin or Macrolide antibiotics like Clarithromycin
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  • If you are taking any medicine containing Astemizole, Terfenadine, Cisapride, Pimozide, Ergotamine or Dihydroergotamine, Colchicine

Side effects of Erythromycin

Common side effects of this drug are:

  • The severe side effects are allergic reactions, dark urine, difficulty in breathing, hearing loss, irregular heartbeat and chest pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea, loss of appetite
  • Increase in a particular type of white blood cells (eosinophilia)
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Various liver or gall-bladder problems such as yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice) or pale stools with dark urine
  • Abnormal heart rhythms (including palpitations)
  • Vomiting and irritability in young children between the age of 1 month and 12 months
  • Visual impairment/blurred vision

Precautions and Warnings of Erythromycin


Can I take Erythromycin during pregnancy?
Do not use Erythromycin if you are pregnant or thinking of pregnancy. If this medicine is taken during pregnancy, it can cause liver damage.

Breast Feeding

Can I take Erythromycin while breastfeeding?
Your doctor will prescribe this drug to you only if the benefit to you exceeds the potential risk to the fetus. A small amount of the medicine passes into breast milk and is unlikely to cause side effects in the baby. Monitor the baby for irritability diarrhea or diaper rash.


Can I drive if I have consumed Erythromycin?
There are no effects on the ability to drive when this medication is used.


Can I consume alcohol with Erythromycin?
Caution is advised as alcohol might result in delayed absorption of the antibiotic.

Other General Warnings

Talk to your doctor if
  • Have any liver problems or are on any medication which can cause liver problems
  • Suffer from a condition called myasthenia gravis which causes muscle weakness
  • If you are on Colchicine as taking it with Erythromycin may cause serious side effects

Mode of Action of Erythromycin

How Does It Work?

Erythromycin inhibits the growth of bacteria by preventing the synthesis of proteins that bacteria secrete for microbial action.

Interactions of Erythromycin

Interactions with other medicines

Medicine interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription medicines and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Serious problems related to heart can occur if these medicines are taken along with Erythromycin: Amiodarone, Astemizole, Cisapride, Dofetilide, Pimozide, Procainamide, Propafenone, Quinidine, Sotalol, Domperidone, Terfenadine, Simvastatin. Some medicines that may interact with this include Clindamycin, Digoxin.
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Interactions with food items

No specific food interactions are observed. Food decreases absorption of Erythromycin. Take Erythromycin on an empty stomach and at least 30 minutes before or 2 hours after a meal.

Dosage of Erythromycin


An overdose of Erythromycin could cause nausea, vomiting, temporary hearing loss and diarrhea. Seek emergency medical help immediately.

Missed a Dose

If you forget to take a dose of your medicine, take it as early as you remember. Do not take more medicine in one day than your doctor tells you to. It is advisable not to miss doses of antibiotics as it can lead to resistance.
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Content Details


Dr. Nikita Toshi

BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery)


Dr. Ritu Budania

MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: What are the precautions that should I take while on this medicine?

A: The dosage regimen of the medicine should be followed regularly. The prescribed dose should be completed to prevent the development of antimicrobial resistance.

Q: What should I discuss with my healthcare expert before taking Erythromycin?

  • Give a detailed account of your surgical and medical history
  • The doctor should also know about other health supplements like herbal medications or nutritional supplements that you may take before starting this medication
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)

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The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts. Please click here for detailed T&C.
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