What is erythromycin?
Erythromycin is in a group of drugs called macrolide antibiotics. Macrolide antibiotics slow the growth of, or sometimes kill, sensitive bacteria by reducing the production of important proteins needed by the bacteria to survive.
Erythromycin is used to treat many different types of infections caused by bacteria.
Erythromycin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not take erythromycin if you are allergic to it, or if you are also using cisapride (Propulsid), dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal), ergotamine (Ergomar, Cafergot, Migergot), or pimozide (Orap). Erythromycin may interact with these medicines and could cause dangerous or life-threatening heart rhythm disorders.
Before you take erythromycin, tell your doctor if you have liver disease, myasthenia gravis, a heart rhythm disorder, a history of Long QT syndrome, or low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood.
Take this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics. Erythromycin will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.
Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, stop taking erythromycin and call your doctor. Do not use anti-diarrhea medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Before taking this medicine
You should not take erythromycin if you are allergic to it, or if you are taking any of the following medicines. Erythromycin may interact with these medicines and could cause dangerous or life-threatening heart rhythm disorders.
pimozide (Orap); or
dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal) or ergotamine (Ergomar, Cafergot, Migergot).
To make sure you can safely take erythromycin, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
a heart rhythm disorder;
a history of Long QT syndrome; or
an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood).
FDA pregnancy category B. Erythromycin is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Erythromycin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Older adults may be more likely to have side effects on heart rhythm, including a life-threatening fast heart rate.