Health Library: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Erythromycin Topical ointment

What is this medicine?

ERYTHROMYCIN (er ith roe MYE sin) is a macrolide antibiotic. It is used on the skin to treat acne.

How should I use this medicine?

This medicine is for external use only. Do not take by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Wash hands before and after use. Wash the affected area with warm water and soap, rinse, and dry completely before applying. Apply a thin film to cover the affected area. Do not get this medicine in your eyes. If you do, rinse out with plenty of cool tap water. Use your doses at regular intervals. Do not use your medicine more often than directed. Use this medicine for the full course prescribed by your doctor or health care professional, even if you think your condition is better. Do not stop using except on your the advice of your doctor or health care professional.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

  • redness, swelling, pain

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • dry, scaly skin

What may interact with this medicine?

  • other antibiotics

  • topical corticosteroids like dexamethasone, hydrocortisone and prednisolone

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, use only that dose. Do not use double or extra doses.

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 25 degrees C (59 and 77 degrees F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to erythromycin, foods, dyes, or preservatives

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast-feeding

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Tell your doctor or health care professional if your skin does not improve after 3 to 6 weeks of use. It can take 8 to 12 weeks of treatment to see the full effects of this medicine.

Do not wash your face more than 2 to 3 times a day. Frequent washing can make your skin very dry, scale or peel. Let your doctor or health care professional know if this happens. Do not use any soothing cream or ointment without advice.

You can use makeup while using this medicine. Only use water based products and apply lightly.