erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide (gel or pak), Benzamycin

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Get Rid of Adult Acne

What is erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Benzamycin is a combination of erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide and is used for the topical treatment of acne (pimples). Erythromycin is an antibiotic. The exact mechanism by which topical erythromycin reduces pimples is unknown. Erythromycin probably reduces pimples by penetrating into the skin and killing bacteria that contribute to the formation of pimples. Benzoyl peroxide works through several mechanisms. It kills the bacteria and promotes the growth of new skin cells. It also dries the skin. Increased cell growth leads to replacement of the pimples with new skin. Combining erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide is more convenient than using them separately. The FDA approved Benzamycin in November 2000.

What brand names are available for erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide?

Benzamycin

Is erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide?

Yes

What are the side effects of erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide?

The most common side effects are:

  • skin irritation,
  • redness,
  • peeling,
  • dryness, and
  • itching.

Most of these side effects lessen with continued use. If they are bothersome, decreasing the frequency of application could be helpful. Skin discoloration and tenderness also may occur. Benzamycin may increase sensitivity to the sun leading to sunburn. Excessive sun exposure should be avoided, and sunscreen should be used over treated areas if sun exposure cannot be avoided. Benzamycin should not be applied to sunburned skin, cuts, eyes, nose or lips. Benzamycin may bleach hair or colored fabric.

Quick GuideAdult Acne (Pimples) Causes and Treatments

Adult Acne (Pimples) Causes and Treatments

What is the dosage for erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide?

The affected areas are washed and dried, and a thin layer of gel is applied twice daily (morning and evening) or as directed by a physician. The eyes, lips and nose should be avoided. Results should be seen within 4 to 6 weeks. This product is for external use only.

Which drugs or supplements interact with erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide?

Excessive skin irritation may occur if Benzamycin is used with other acne medications.

Is erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

Safety of Benzamycin when used during pregnancy has not been established; however, the risk of side effects on the fetus is low because very little drug is absorbed through the skin.

The possibility that infants will experience adverse effects due to the use of Benzamycin by a woman who is breastfeeding is very low since little drug is absorbed through the skin.

What else should I know about erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide?

What preparations of erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide are available?

Benzamycin is dispensed in amounts of 46.6 gm containing 1.6 grams of erythromycin powder and 40 grams of benzoyl peroxide gel. The erythromycin powder is mixed with 6 ml of ethyl alcohol and then added to the benzoyl peroxide gel before it is dispensed to the patient. Benzamycin also is available as Benzamycin Pak, 60 individual-use packets containing both erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide as gels in separate compartment within the packet. Just prior to use, the packet is opened, and the gels are mixed.

How should I keep erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide stored?

Prior to mixing the erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide together, Benzamycin should be stored at room temperature, 15 C - 30 C (59 F - 86 F). After mixing, Benzamycin should be stored in the refrigerator between 2 C - 8 C (36 F – 46 F) and discarded after 3 months.

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

Quick GuideAdult Acne (Pimples) Causes and Treatments

Adult Acne (Pimples) Causes and Treatments

Summary

erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide gel or pak (Benzamycin) is a topical medication prescribed for the treatment of acne. Side effects, dosage, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to using this medication.

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Reviewed on 7/21/2015
References
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

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