Many different bacterial infections can be treated with erythromycin. The drug works by inhibiting the action of ribosomes, which in turn prevents bacteria from growing and multiplying. It comes in a wide variety of forms, and the dose a person is prescribed often depends on which form is used. Most people have no problems with this medicine, but side effects can include nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain.

What Is Erythromycin?

Erythromycin is an antibiotic. It is an active ingredient in many different prescription medications. Erythromycin comes in many different forms, such as tablets, capsules, injection, various skin products, and eye ointments. It is used to treat and/or prevent a variety of different infections.
(Click What Is Erythromycin Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

How Does It Work?

Erythromycin belongs to a group of medications known as macrolides. It works by inhibiting a part of bacterial ribosomes, which are parts of cells that make proteins. By inhibiting the ribosomes, the medication interferes with the ability of bacteria to make proteins, which is necessary for the bacteria to grow and multiply.
Erythromycin specifically inhibits the 50S subunit of the ribosome. Since human cells do not have a 50S subunit, they are spared from the effects of the antibiotic.

When and How to Take Erythromycin

General considerations to keep in mind during treatment with erythromycin include the following:
  • This medication comes in many different forms. The particular directions for each product can vary substantially, so be sure to refer to the information for your specific medication.
  • When taking erythromycin by mouth, it generally does not matter if you take it with or without food. If it bothers your stomach, however, try taking it with a little food.
  • For this medicine to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Do not miss doses or stop taking this antibiotic earlier than your healthcare provider recommends, as bacterial resistance may develop.
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Erythromycin Antibiotic Information

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