This medication is an antibiotic given by vein (IV) to treat certain bacterial infections when medications cannot be taken by mouth. This medication is known as a macrolide (erythromycin-type) antibiotic. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria.
This medication is mixed in the correct fluid and given slowly into a vein as directed by your doctor, usually every 6 hours. Erythromycin may be given continuously or slowly over 20 to 60 minutes as separate doses at evenly spaced intervals. Dosage and length of treatment are based on your medical condition and response to therapy. You should use this injectable medication only until you are able to take an antibiotic by mouth or until your treatment is finished.
If you are giving this medication to yourself at home, learn all preparation and usage instructions from your health care professional. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely.
Antibiotics work best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, use this drug at evenly spaced intervals.
Continue to use this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished, even if symptoms disappear after a few days. Stopping the medication too early may allow bacteria to continue to grow, resulting in a return of the infection.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: hearing changes (such as ringing in the ears, hearing loss), persistent nausea/vomiting, severe abdominal/stomach pain, unusual weakness/tiredness, change in the amount of urine, dark urine, yellowing skin/eyes, muscle weakness.
This medication may rarely cause a severe intestinal condition (Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea) due to resistant bacteria. This condition may occur during treatment or weeks to months after treatment has stopped. Do not use anti-diarrhea products or narcotic pain medications if you have the following symptoms because these products may make them worse. Tell your doctor immediately if you develop: persistent diarrhea, abdominal or stomach pain/cramping, blood/mucus in your stool.
Use of this medication for prolonged or repeated periods may result in oral thrush or a new vaginal yeast infection. Contact your doctor if you notice white patches/sores in your mouth, a change in vaginal discharge, or other new symptoms.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using erythromycin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to any other macrolide/ketolide antibiotics (e.g., clarithromycin, azithromycin); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Erythromycin may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can infrequently result in serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away.
The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other drugs that may cause QT prolongation. Before using erythromycin, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take and if you have any of the following conditions: certain heart problems (heart failure, slow heartbeat, QT prolongation in the EKG), family history of certain heart problems (QT prolongation in the EKG, sudden cardiac death).
Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood may also increase your risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if you use certain drugs (such as diuretics/"water pills") or if you have conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting. Talk to your doctor about using erythromycin safely.
Caution is advised when this drug is used in infants. Though very unlikely to occur, there have been rare reports of a stomach problem called IHPS (infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis) in infants receiving this medication. Contact your child's doctor immediately if the child has persistent vomiting or increased irritability.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially hearing loss and QT prolongation (see above).
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
This medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: colchicine, eletriptan, ergot alkaloids (such as ergotamine, dihydroergotamine), digoxin, certain drugs for seizures (anti-convulsants such as carbamazepine, phenytoin, valproate), drugs that can change potassium levels (e.g., ACE inhibitors such as lisinopril), drugs which may affect the heart rhythm (QT prolonging drugs such as cisapride, disopyramide, pimozide), theophylline, live bacterial vaccines, warfarin, drugs affecting liver enzymes that remove erythromycin from your body (e.g., azole antifungals such as itraconazole/fluconazole, rifamycins including rifabutin, quinupristin-dalfopristin, calcium channel blockers such as diltiazem/verapamil).
Many drugs besides erythromycin and those listed above may affect the heart rhythm (QT prolongation), including amiodarone, dofetilide, gatifloxacin, moxifloxacin, procainamide, propafenone, quinidine, sotalol, and thioridazine, among others. Therefore, before using erythromycin, report all medications you are currently using to your doctor or pharmacist.
This drug can slow down the removal of other drugs from your body by affecting certain liver enzymes. Some examples of these affected drugs include alfentanil, bromocriptine, buspirone, certain benzodiazepines (alprazolam, midazolam, triazolam), caffeine-containing drugs, cilostazol, corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone), cyclosporine, eplerenone, certain drugs to treat erectile dysfunction-ED or pulmonary hypertension (such as sildenafil, tadalafil), eszopiclone, felodipine, hexobarbital, certain "statin" drugs (such as atorvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin), quetiapine, tacrolimus, tolterodine, vinblastine.
Although most antibiotics probably do not affect hormonal birth control such as pills, patch, or ring, some antibiotics may decrease their effectiveness. This could cause pregnancy. Examples include rifamycins such as rifampin or rifabutin. Be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist if you should use additional reliable birth control methods while using this antibiotic.
This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including urinary catecholamines), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Laboratory and/or medical tests may be performed to monitor for side effects and response to treatment.
For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately to establish a new dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Consult the product instructions and your pharmacist for storage details. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised March 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
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