PREGNANCY AND BREASTFEEDING SAFETY: Erythromycin crosses the placenta, but its level in the blood of the fetus is low. There are no adequate studies in pregnant women, hence pregnant women should only use erythromycin if it is felt that the benefits of treatment outweigh the potential but unknown risks.
Erythromycin is excreted in breast milk; however, erythromycin is considered by the American Academy of Pediatrics to be compatible with breastfeeding. Caution should be exercised, however, when erythromycin is prescribed to women who are breastfeeding.
PREPARATIONS: Tablets: Tablets: 250, 333, 400 and 500 mg. Suspension: 200 and, 400 mg/teaspoon. Tablet (Chewable): 200 mg. Powder: 100 mg/half-teaspoon and 200 mg/teaspoon. Granules: 200 and 400 mg/teaspoon. Powder for Injection: 500 mg and 1g.
STORAGE: Erythromycin should be stored at temperatures below 86 F (30 C). It is important to protect tablets from moisture and excessive heat.
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Erythromycin is an antibiotic in the class of antibiotics known as macrolide antibiotics which also includes azithromycin (Zithromax, Zmax) and clarithromycin (Biaxin). It is used to treat several types of infections including upper/lower respiratory tract infections, skin infections, acute pelvic inflammatory disease, erythrasma, etc. caused by bacteria such as Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and many others. Erythromycin, like all macrolide antibiotics, prevents bacterial cells from growing and multiplying by interfering with their ability to make proteins while not affecting human cells. Bacteria such as Haemophilus influenzae are resistant to erythromycin alone and must be treated with a combination of erythromycin and adequate doses of sulfonamides. The FDA approved E.E.S in April 1965.
Medically reviewed by Eni Williams, PharmD, PhD
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
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