Drugs A - Z

Erythromycin Topical ointment

It is used on the skin to treat acne

Generic Name: erythromycin topical

What is this medicine?

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

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

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 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.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • other antibiotics
  • topical corticosteroids like dexamethasone, hydrocortisone and prednisolone

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.

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

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.

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.


Last Updated: April 21, 2009
Licensed from
The Healthline Site, its content, such as text, graphics, images, search results, HealthMaps, Trust Marks, and other material contained on the Healthline Site ("Content"), its services, and any information or material posted on the Healthline Site by third parties are provided for informational purposes only. None of the foregoing is a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Healthline Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Please read the Terms of Service for more information regarding use of the Healthline Site.
Advertisement
Advertisement