Erythromycin Side Effects

Clinical studies on older drugs like erythromycin did not break down possible side effects by percentage; thus, while it is known what reactions are possible, it is not clear how common or rare they are. Likely side effects of erythromycin can include nausea, vomiting, skin irritation, and eye redness. Potentially serious problems include myasthenia gravis, liver problems, or an allergic reaction.

An Introduction to Erythromycin Side Effects

Just like any medicine, erythromycin can cause side effects. However, not everyone who takes the medication will have problems. In fact, some people tolerate it quite well. If adverse reactions do occur, in many cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with erythromycin. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Possible Side Effects of Erythromycin

For many medications, the prescribing information carefully explains the exact percentage of side effects that were seen in clinical trials.
However, the prescribing information for almost all older medications (including many erythromycin medications) include only vague side effect information, with no percentages provided. Therefore, it can be difficult to know exactly how common (or how rare) the side effects of such medications may be. In addition, the many different forms of erythromycin may have significantly different side effects.
Some of the possible reactions to oral or injectable erythromycin are thought to include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
  • Loss of appetite.
The most common side effects of erythromycin skin products used for acne treatment include:
  • Dryness
  • Tenderness
  • Itching
  • Peeling
  • Redness
  • Burning sensation
  • Oiliness.
The most common problems seen with erythromycin eye ointment are minor eye irritation and redness.
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