Erythromycin is a macrolide antibiotic, often used for people allergic to penicillins. It is effective against many different bacterial infection including Mycoplasma and Legionella infection (atypical microorganisms, causing serious conditions) and it is also used to prevent rheumatic fever or bacterial endocarditis. Macrolide antibiotics, including erythromycin, affect the production of important bacterial proteins slowing the growth or killing the bacteria. Erythromycin tablets are not to be used in viral infection like flu or common cold.
The pill is meant to be swallowed. Do not crush or chew it, because it may upset your stomach. Use the tablets for as long and in the dosage that doctor prescribed. Some symptoms may be better after some time, but it is important to treat the infection completely. Eryhtromycin could induce sensitivity to sunlight so avoid sun or UV lamps (sunlamps). Protect your face and body from sunburn use sunscreen products with SPF 15 or more and wear protective clothes if you have to be exposed.
This medication is ototoxic (toxic for the hearing). Patients receiving high doses of erythromycin (4 gram a day or more), elderly or patients with existing liver condition are at increased risk. Local effect of erythromycin is present at intravenous patients that includes venous irritation. Diluted or slowly administered medication solves the problem in most of the cases.
Patients receiving intravenous erythromycin reported frequent gastrointestinal problems, like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Hepatotoxicity is rare, but some of the patients experience intrahepatic cholestasis or fulminant hepatic necrosis. Pancreatitis cases have rarely been recorded. Patients with liver conditions are advised to test the liver regularly. If you experience diarrhea during the erythromycin treatment do not use any medication to stop it until you inform your doctor.
Patients treated with this medication might have arrhythmias, QT segment prolongation or hypotension. These cardiovascular side effects are more likely to occur in patient treated with intravenous erythromycin. Anaphylaxis is rare condition when using erythromycin. Patients report rash, fever and eosinophilia more often, and sometimes generalized rash. Erythromycin rarely affects the blood causing agranulocytosis or hemolytic anemia. The drug has rarely showed brain or the kidney side effects.
Erythromycin should not be used if you are allergic to this substance. This medication should not be used with cisapride (Propulsid) or pimozide (Orap), because it may result in serious and even fatal arrhythmias. Patients suffering from myastenia gravis or liver conditions might need to take some tests and adjust the dosage of the medication.