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All about: E-Mycin

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Generic Name: erythromycin (eer ith roe MYE sin)
Brand Names: E-Mycin, E.E.S.-200, E.E.S.-400, Ery-Tab, Eryc, EryPed, Erythrocin Stearate Filmtab, Erythrocot, Ilosone, MY-E, PCE Dispertab, Robimycin

What is E-Mycin (erythromycin)?

Erythromycin is in a group of drugs called macrolide antibiotics. Erythromycin fights bacteria in the body.

Erythromycin is used to treat many different types of infections caused by bacteria.

Erythromycin may also be used for purposes other than those listed here.

What is the most important information I should know about E-Mycin (erythromycin)?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to erythromycin, or if you are also taking astemizole (Hismanal), cisapride (Propulsid), pimozide (Orap), or terfenadine (Seldane). Erythromycin may interact with these medicines and could cause dangerous or life-threatening heart rhythm disorders.

Before taking erythromycin, tell your doctor if you have liver disease or myasthenia gravis. You may not be able to take erythromycin, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

Do not crush, chew, break, or open an enteric-coated or delayed-release pill. Swallow the pill whole. The enteric-coated pill has a special coating to protect your stomach. Breaking the pill could damage this coating. The delayed-release pill is specially made to release medicine slowly in the body. Breaking the pill would cause too much of the drug to be released at one time. Avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (sunlamps or tanning beds). Erythromycin can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and sunburn may result. Use a sunscreen (minimum SPF 15) and wear protective clothing if you must be out in the sun.

Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or has blood in it, call your doctor. Do not use any medicine to stop the diarrhea unless your doctor has told you to.

Take this medication for as many days as it has been prescribed for you even if you begin to feel better. Your symptoms may get better before the infection is completely treated. Erythromycin will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking E-Mycin (erythromycin)?

Do not take this medication if you are allergic to erythromycin, or if you are taking any of the following medicines:
  • astemizole (Hismanal);

  • cisapride (Propulsid);

  • pimozide (Orap); or

  • terfenadine (Seldane).

Erythromycin may interact with these medicines and could cause dangerous or life-threatening heart rhythm disorders.

Before taking erythromycin, tell your doctor if you have liver disease or myasthenia gravis. You may not be able to take erythromycin, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category B: This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Erythromycin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take E-Mycin (erythromycin)?

Take erythromycin exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take it in larger doses or for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Take each dose with a full glass (8 ounces) of water. Erythromycin can be taken on an empty stomach or with food or milk. Do not crush, chew, break, or open an enteric-coated or delayed-release pill. Swallow the pill whole. The enteric-coated pill has a special coating to protect your stomach. Breaking the pill could damage this coating. The delayed-release pill is specially made to release medicine slowly in the body. Breaking the pill would cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.

The chewable tablet form of erythromycin must be chewed before swallowing.

Shake the oral suspension (liquid) well just before you measure a dose. To be sure you get the correct dose, measure the liquid with a marked measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one. Take this medication for as many days as it has been prescribed for you even if you begin to feel better. Your symptoms may get better before the infection is completely treated. Erythromycin will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.

This medication can cause you to have unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using erythromycin.

Store this medication at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Symptoms of an erythromycin overdose may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or hearing loss.

What should I avoid while taking E-Mycin (erythromycin)?

Avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (sunlamps or tanning beds). Erythromycin can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and sunburn may result. Use a sunscreen (minimum SPF 15) and wear protective clothing if you must be out in the sun.

Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or has blood in it, call your doctor. Do not use any medicine to stop the diarrhea unless your doctor has told you to.

E-Mycin (erythromycin) side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using erythromycin and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • chest pain, uneven heartbeats, feeling light-headed or fainting;

  • nausea, stomach pain, low fever, lost appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or

  • diarrhea that is watery or bloody.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue taking erythromycin and talk with your doctor if you have any of these less serious side effects:

  • mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain;

  • dizziness, headache, feeling tired;

  • vaginal itching or discharge; or

  • mild itching or skin rash.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect E-Mycin (erythromycin)?

Before taking erythromycin, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • digoxin (Lanoxin);

  • sildenafil (Viagra);

  • disopyramide (Norpace);

  • warfarin (Coumadin);

  • theophylline (Theo-Dur, Theobid, and others);

  • alprazolam (Xanax) or triazolam (Halcion);

  • ergotamine (Ercaf, Cafergot, Ergostat, Ergomar) or dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal);

  • carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin), or valproic acid (Depakote, Depakene);

  • tacrolimus (Prograf);

  • cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral);

  • lovastatin (Mevacor) or simvastatin (Zocor);

  • bromocriptine (Parlodel);

  • cilostazol (Pletal);

  • quinidine (Quinaglute, Quinidex);

  • vinblastine (Velban); or

  • other antibiotics.

If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to take erythromycin, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

There may be other drugs not listed that can affect erythromycin. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about erythromycin written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Erythromycin is available with a prescription generically and under several brand names. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.06. Revision Date: 10/13/06 11:41:29 AM.

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