Erythromycin is an antibiotic. It is used to treat serious bacterial infections.
This medicine may be used to treat other conditions as decided by your doctor.
Take Erythromycin exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
Erythromycin is best taken on an empty stomach at least 30 minutes or preferably 2 hours before meal.
This medicine is available as a tablet, capsule or as an oral suspension.
If you are taking tablets or capsules, swallow it whole. Do not divide, chew or crush the tablet or capsule.
If you are taking an oral suspension, shake the bottle well before you take it to ensure that the liquid is evenly mixed. Use the measuring spoon or cup provided to measure your dose.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment timeframe depending on the type and severity of your infection.
Erythromycin must be taken at a regular interval for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by the doctor.
Do not skip any doses. You must complete the entire course of this medicine. If you don't, the infection will not be properly controlled.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Do not take this medicine if you ever had an allergic reaction (rashes, breathlessness, swollen eyes) to similar medicines such as clarithromycin, azithromycin or any other macrolide antibiotic.
DO NOT take Erythromycin with medicines for mood disorder, migraine, allergies, gastric disorder and high cholesterol. Please see the section “Can I take this with other medicines?” below for more information.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- liver disease
- myasthenia gravis (muscle weakness disorder)
- heart rhythm disorder
- low potassium or magnesium level
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving this medicine to the elderly. Elderly may be more sensitive to the side effects.
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you are being treated with Erythromycin for sexually transmitted disease, you should follow your doctor's advice on ways to prevent passing the disease to others. You should also avoid sexual contact until the doctor certifies that you are cleared of the infection.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly. You may need to have routine blood tests (e.g. complete blood count, liver and kidney function) while you are being treated with Erythromycin. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
If you are going for a urine test, inform your doctor that you are taking Erythromycin as this medicine may interfere with the test result.
Erythromycin may cause any of the following side effects: diarrhoea, nausea, stomach discomfort, loss of appetite, vomiting, weakness, visual and hearing impairment.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- severe, persistent or bloody diarrhoea accompanied by stomach pain or fever
- liver problems e.g. yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, light-coloured stools
- muscle weakness
- abnormal heartbeat
- rashes, breathlessness, swollen face, eyes, tongue or throat
- rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes accompanied by fever
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Do not take Erythromycin with the following medicines:
- medicines for gastric disorder e.g. cisapride
- medicines for mood disorder e.g. pimozide
- medicines to treat allergies e.g. astemizole, terfenadine
- cholesterol-lowering medicines e.g. simvastatin, lovastatin
- medicines for migraine (severe throbbing or pulsating sensation usually affecting one side of the head that is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound) e.g. ergotamine
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- medicines for heart disease e.g. digoxin, quinidine, disopyramide
- blood-thinning medicines e.g. warfarin
- other medicines for mood disorder e.g. amisulpride, midazolam, triazolam
- medicines for epilepsy (fits or seizures) e.g. phenytoin, carbamazepine
- medicines for TB (lung infection known as tuberculosis) e.g. rifampicin
- medicines for fungal infections e.g. fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole
- medicines used in organ transplant or certain immune disorders e.g. ciclosporin, tacrolimus
- other medicines for gastric disorder e.g. cimetidine
- medicines for gout (abnormal metabolism of uric acid) e.g. colchicine
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Erythromycin.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Store the oral suspension at room temperature. Store reconstituted suspension in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. If frozen, the medicine will become ineffective and should not be used. Throw away any unused portion within 10 days.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.