Erythromycin

Erythromycin is an antibiotic that is commonly used to treat infections of the chest, ear, nose and throat, skin and other parts of the body.

When patients are allergic to penicillin, they are often given erythromycin instead but there are also occasions when erythromycin is given first or alongside a penicillin.

One of the main side effects is irritation of the stomach and some patients may experience feeling sick, vomiting or diarrhoea. Other side effects are listed below.

It is usually given four times per day.

If your child vomits less than 30 minutes after being given a dose of erythromycin you should repeat the dose. If more than 30 minutes has passed you can assume that the medicine has been absorbed.

Erythromycin should be used with caution in children under 2 weeks of age because of the risk of development of pyloric stenosis. It should also be avoided in patients with acute porphyria.

Side effects:

One of the main side effects is irritation of the stomach and some patients may experience feeling sick, vomiting or diarrhoea.

Other side effects include liver damage (hepatotoxicity),rash, inflammation of the bowel, pancreatitis and heart rhythm disturbances.

If your child gets a skin rash or itching, is short of breath, wheezing, or their face, lips or tongue start to swell, they may be allergic to erythromycin. Take your child to hospital or call an ambulance straight away.

For more information on rarer side effects please refer to the summary of product characteristics for erythromycin.

Drug interactions

Erythromycin may interact with other medicines, particularly those that are removed by the liver. These should be discussed on an individual basis by the prescribing doctor.

Authored by: Dr Tim Ubhi

Published: 8th March 2019

References:

The main source of information for this section was from the British National Formulary (childrens) and the summary of product characteristics

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