Health Guide

Erythromycin (By mouth)

Erythromycin (e-rith-roe-MYE-sin)

Treats infections. Also helps prevent heart infections and rheumatic fever. This medicine is a macrolide antibiotic.

Brand Name(s):

E.E.S. 400, E.E.S. 400 Filmtab, E.E.S. Granules, Ery-Tab, Eryped 200, Eryped 400, Erythrocin Stearate, Erythrocin Stearate Filmtab, PCE, PCE Dispertab

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to erythromycin.

How to Use This Medicine:

Delayed Release Capsule, Liquid, Tablet, Delayed Release Tablet, Coated Tablet

  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • Best taken on an empty stomach, but may be taken with food if stomach upset occurs. PCE® tablets may be taken without meals or at least 30 minutes to 2 hours before meals.
  • Shake the oral liquid before each use. Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • Swallow the coated tablet, delayed-release tablet, or delayed-release capsule whole. Do not crush, break, or chew it.
  • Take all of the medicine in your prescription to clear up your infection, even if you feel better after the first few doses.
  • Missed dose: Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Some brands of erythromycin are stored in the refrigerator and some may be kept at room temperature. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how to store your medicine and when it should be thrown away.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not use this medicine if you are using astemizole, cisapride, ergotamine, dihydroergotamine, pimozide, terfenadine, or statin medicine (including lovastatin or simvastatin).
  • Some medicines can affect how erythromycin works. Tell your doctor if you are using any of the following:
    • Alfentanil, bromocriptine, carbamazepine, cilostazol, colchicine, cyclosporine, digoxin, disopyramide, methylprednisolone, phenytoin, quinidine, rifabutin, sildenafil, tacrolimus, tacrolimus, theophylline, valproate, vinblastine
    • Benzodiazepine medicine (including alprazolam, triazolam)
    • Blood pressure medicine (including amlodipine, diltiazem, verapamil)
    • Blood thinner (including warfarin)

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, heart rhythm problems (including QT prolongation), myasthenia gravis (severe muscle weakness), or stomach problems.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Liver problems
    • Heart rhythm problems
    • Serious stomach problem, including infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis
  • This medicine can cause diarrhea. Call your doctor if the diarrhea becomes severe, does not stop, or is bloody. Do not take any medicine to stop diarrhea until you have talked to your doctor. Diarrhea can occur 2 months or more after you stop taking this medicine.
  • Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.
  • Do not take this medicine for any other infection. This medicine will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect certain medical test results.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, red skin rash
  • Bloody or cloudy urine, decrease in how much or how often you urinate
  • Dark urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellow skin or eyes
  • Fast, slow, pounding, or uneven heartbeat
  • Hearing loss
  • Muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness
  • Severe diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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