Erythromycin Overdose

In general, people who take an overdose of erythromycin may experience the usual side effects of the drug, although perhaps more severely. In some cases, hearing loss or an irregular heart rhythm have occurred; these usually go away once the medication is stopped. Treatment options for an overdose will likely involve treating any related symptoms or complications.

Can You Take Too Much Erythromycin?

Erythromycin is a prescription antibiotic. Although this medication is not particularly toxic, an overdose could cause problems. The specific effects of an overdose with erythromycin would likely vary, depending on a number of factors, including the erythromycin dosage, the particular form of the medication, and whether it was taken with any other drugs or substances.
Seek immediate medical attention if you or someone else may have intentionally or accidentally taken too much erythromycin.

Effects of an Overdose With Erythromycin

As would be logical, an erythromycin overdose is likely to cause any of the usual side effects of the drug, such as diarrhea and upset stomach. The hearing loss that may accompany an overdose is usually temporary and typically goes away with time. Similarly, an overdose might cause an irregular heart rhythm, which should also improve once the medication is stopped.
In addition, erythromycin affects the metabolism of many other drugs and can increase the level of such drugs in the bloodstream. Therefore, it is possible that an erythromycin overdose may cause toxic effects from the other drugs, particularly in people unaccustomed to taking this antibiotic.

Treatment Options

If the erythromycin overdose was recent and was taken by mouth, a healthcare provider may "pump the stomach" or give certain medications to absorb the medication in the digestive tract, although this is not always recommended.
Treatment also involves supportive and symptomatic care, which consists of treating the symptoms that occur as a result of the overdose. Dialysis is not useful for removing erythromycin from the bloodstream.
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