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Drug Profile

The information on this site is intended to supplement and enhance, not replace, the advice of a physician who is familiar with your medical history. Decisions about your health should always be made ONLY after detailed conversation with your doctor.

Generic drug name: erythromycin acetate (er ITH roe my sin A si tate)
Brand name(s): ILOTYCIN
GENERIC: available FAMILY: Macrolides
Find the drug label by searching at DailyMed.

Pregnancy and Breast-feeding Warnings [top]

Pregnancy Warning

There was no evidence of toxicity in animal studies. Use during pregnancy only for clear medical reasons. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant before you take this drug.

Breast-feeding Warning

Erythromycin is excreted in human milk. Because of the potential for serious adverse effects in nursing infants, you should consult with your doctor if you are planning to nurse.

Facts About This Drug [top]

Erythromycin, a macrolide antibiotic, is formulated as an ointment for the treatment of eye infections such as conjunctivitis, blepharitis, and keratitis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of the eye ointment as one of three primary drug treatments for the prevention of gonococcal ophthalmia (gonorrhea infection of the eye) in newborns. Although erythromycin is also approved for the prevention of chlamydial infections in newborns, the CDC states: “The...

Erythromycin, a macrolide antibiotic, is formulated as an ointment for the treatment of eye infections such as conjunctivitis, blepharitis, and keratitis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of the eye ointment as one of three primary drug treatments for the prevention of gonococcal ophthalmia (gonorrhea infection of the eye) in newborns. Although erythromycin is also approved for the prevention of chlamydial infections in newborns, the CDC states: “The efficacy of these preparations in preventing chlamydial ophthalmia is less clear, and they do not eliminate nasopharyngeal colonization by C. trachomatis.”[1] There are reports of an association between the oral form of erythromycin and pyloric stenosis in infants. However, the association was not found with the eye form of erythromycin.[1],[2]

Before You Use This Drug [top]

  • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to erythromycin, other macrolides, or any component to this medicine.

Tell your doctor about any other drugs you take, including aspirin, herbs, vitamins, and other nonprescription products.

When You Use This Drug [top]

  • Your vision may become blurry after application of the eye ointment.
  • Do not wear your contact lenses while using the drug.
  • Call your doctor if your eye infection does not improve within a few days or if it gets worse.
  • Use all the erythromycin your doctor prescribed, even if you feel better before you finish. If you stop too soon, your symptoms could come back.

How to Use This Drug [top]

  • Follow the instructions for application of eye drops and ointments  so that you won’t absorb the drug into your body and possibly suffer serious adverse effects.
  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, but skip it if it is almost time for the next dose. Do not take double doses.
  • Do not share your medication with others.
  • Take the drug at the same time(s) each day.
  • Store at room temperature with lid on tightly. Do not store in the bathroom. Do not expose to heat, moisture, or strong light. Keep out of reach of children.
  • Do not let the ointment freeze.

Interactions with Other Drugs [top]

Although there are potential drug interactions reported with the other forms of the drug, there have been no “highly clinically significant” or “clinically significant” drug interactions reported with the ocular form of erythromycin in Evaluations of Drug Interactions 2003. We also found no interactions in the drugs’ FDA-approved professional package inserts. However, as the number of new drugs approved for marketing increases and as more experience is gained with these drugs over time, new interactions may be discovered.

Adverse Effects [top]

Call your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • eye irritation not present before therapy

Call your doctor if this symptom continues:

  • eye irritation

last reviewed January 31, 2021