GENERIC NAME: erythromycin
BRAND NAMES: Ery-Tab, PCE
E-Mycin, Eryc, Ilosone, E.E.S, Eryped, and Pediazole
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
PRESCRIBED FOR:Erythromycin is used to treat the following diseases and conditions:
- Streptococcal infections of the throat ("strep throat") and skin
- Acute pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Whooping cough (pertussis),
- Listeriosis (Listeria), and
- Intestinal amebiasis
- Infections of the lung (pneumonia) caused by streptococcal pneumoniae, mycoplasma pneumoniae, and legionella pneumophila (Legionnaires' disease)
- An alternative antibiotic for the treatment of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia
Erythromycin also is used in patients who are allergic to penicillin for the prevention of recurrent rheumatic fever and infections of the hearts' valves (endocarditis)) in patients with valvular abnormalities of the heart before they undergo dental treatments.
The non-FDA approved uses for erythromycin include:
WARNING: Abnormal liver tests and liver damage also may occur with erythromycin. Like other antibiotics erythromycin can alter the normal bacteria in the colon and encourage overgrowth of some bacteria such as Clostridium difficile which causes inflammation of the colon (pseudomembranous colitis). Patients who develop signs of pseudomembranous colitis after starting erythromycin (diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and possibly shock) should contact their physician immediately.
SIDE EFFECTS: The most frequent side effects of erythromycin are:
- loss of appetite,
- diarrhea, and
- abdominal pain.
These gastrointestinal side effects are usually dose-related, i.e., more pronounced with higher doses.
Allergic reactions such as:
- rash, or
- anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction which can lead to shock and death) have been reported rarely.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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