Erythromycin. Dosage, Side Effects, Interactions
Erythromycin belongs to the class of macrolide antibiotics and is used against bacterial infections. Since the active ingredient covers a spectrum of activity similar to that of penicillin, it is often used as a substitute in the case of a penicillin allergy. Erythromycin is generally considered to be well tolerated, but can lead to undesirable interactions with some other active ingredients. Here you can read everything you need to know about the effects and use of erythromycin, dosage and side effects.
This is how Erythromycin works
Macrolide antibiotics such as erythromycin have a growth-inhibiting effect on bacteria , i.e. they have a bacteriostatic effect:
In order to be able to grow, bacteria (like other organisms) have to produce a wide variety of proteins. The blueprints for these proteins are stored in the genome. Erythromycin prevents the bacteria from reading the information in their genetic material, so that no protein synthesis is possible – the bacteria cannot grow.
They don’t die as a result, but the patient’s immune system can get them under control better and faster. This can usually prevent the infection from spreading and getting worse.
The Erythromycin contained in tablets or capsules is usually chemically modified so that it is not immediately destroyed by gastric acid and is also better absorbed in the intestine . Examples of such variants are erythromycin ethyl succinate or erythromycin lactobionate.
Erythromycin is taken as a tablet 3 to 4 times a day with a glass of water. Treatment usually lasts 7-8 days, up to 10 days for severe disease. Take the tablets 1-2 hours before or after a meal. After swallowing, an unpleasant taste remains in the mouth. For children there is erythromycin as a juice, which is usually better tolerated. To make it tastier, mix the juice or tablet with yogurt or other food.
Risks and side effects of Arythromycin
Common side effects when taking erythromycin are nausea, abdominal pain and soft stools through to diarrhea. Patients also report rashes and fungal infections of the skin and mucous membranes. Inflammation of the colon, known as antibiotic-associated enterocolitis, rarely develops. If you suspect this, go to your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Interactions with other medications to be expected when taking erythromycin are:
- Vitamin K antagonists such as Marcumar have a stronger effect. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking erythromycin!
- The ” contraceptive pill ” is no longer effective. So you have to take extra precautions.
Do not take erythromycin together with the following medications as there is a risk of life-threatening side effects:
- Terfenadine and Astemizol (for allergies )
- Pimozide (for schizophrenia )
- Ergot alkaloids such as ergotamine and dihydroergotamine (for migraines ) and bromocriptine (for Parkinson’s disease )
- Simvastatin, lovastatin and atorvastatin (for high cholesterol)
- Amitriptyline (for depression )
- Domperidone (for nausea and vomiting)
- Benzodiazepines such as diazepam and midazolam (for sleep disorders).
Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have concomitant illnesses or are taking other medications. In this way, she can identify possible risks in good time and, if necessary, prescribe an alternative antibiotic.
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