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Erythromycin is indicated in the treatment of infections caused by susceptible strains of the designated organisms in the diseases listed below:
Upper respiratory tract infections of mild to moderate degree caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus pneumoniae, or Haemophilus influenzae (when used concomitantly with adequate doses of sulfonamides, since many strains of H. influenzae are not susceptible to the erythromycin concentrations ordinarily achieved) (see appropriate sulfonamide labeling for prescribing information).
Lower respiratory tract infections of mild to moderate severity caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae or Streptococcus pyogenes.
Listeriosis caused by Listeria monocytogenes.
Pertussis (whooping cough) caused by Bordetella pertussis. Erythromycin is effective in eliminating the organism from the nasopharynx of infected individuals rendering them noninfectious. Some clinical studies suggest that erythromycin may be helpful in the prophylaxis of pertussis in exposed susceptible individuals.
Respiratory tract infections due to Mycoplasma pneumoniae.
Skin and skin structure infections of mild to moderate severity caused by Streptococcus pyogenes or Staphylococcus aureus (resistant staphylococci may emerge during treatment).
Diphtheria: Infections due to Corynebacterium diphtheriae, as an adjunct to antitoxin, to prevent establishment of carriers and to eradicate the organism in carriers.
Erythrasma: In the treatment of infections due to Corynebacterium minutissimum.
Syphilis caused by Treponema pallidum: Erythromycin is an alternate choice of treatment for primary syphilis in penicillin-allergic patients. In primary syphilis, spinal fluid examinations should be done before treatment and as part of follow-up after therapy.
Intestinal amebiasis caused by Entamoeba histolytica (oral erythromycins only). Extraenteric amebiasis requires treatment with other agents.
Acute pelvic inflammatory disease caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae: Erythromycin lactobionate for injection, USP followed by erythromycin base orally, as an alternative drug in treatment of acute pelvic inflammatory disease caused by N. gonorrhoeae in female patients with a history of sensitivity to penicillin. Patients should have a serologic test for syphilis before receiving erythromycin as treatment of gonorrhea and a follow-up serologic test for syphilis after 3 months.
Erythromycins are indicated for the treatment of the following infections caused by Chlamydia trachomatis: conjunctivitis of the newborn, pneumonia of infancy, and urogenital infections during pregnancy. When tetracyclines are contraindicated or not tolerated, erythromycin is indicated for the treatment of uncomplicated urethral, endocervical, or rectal infections in adults due to Chlamydia trachomatis.
When tetracyclines are contraindicated or not tolerated, erythromycin is indicated for the treatment of nongonococcal urethritis caused by Ureaplasma urealyticum.
Legionnaires' Disease caused by Legionella pneumophila. Although no controlled clinical efficacy studies have been conducted, in vitro and limited preliminary clinical data suggest that erythromycin may be effective in treating Legionnaires' Disease.
Prevention of Initial Attacks of Rheumatic Fever: Penicillin is considered by the American Heart Association to be the drug of choice in the prevention of initial attacks of rheumatic fever (treatment of Streptococcus pyogenes infections of the upper respiratory tract, e.g., tonsillitis or pharyngitis). Erythromycin is indicated for the treatment of penicillin-allergic patients.3 The therapeutic dose should be administered for ten days.
Prevention of Recurrent Attacks of Rheumatic Fever: Penicillin or sulfonamides are considered by the American Heart Association to be the drugs of choice in the prevention of recurrent attacks of rheumatic fever. In patients who are allergic to penicillin and sulfonamides, oral erythromycin is recommended by the American Heart Association in the long-term prophylaxis of streptococcal pharyngitis (for the prevention of recurrent attacks of rheumatic fever).3
To reduce the development of drug-resistant bacteria and maintain the effectiveness of ERYC and other antibacterial drugs, ERYC should be used only to treat or prevent infections that are proven or strongly suspected to be caused by susceptible bacteria. When culture and susceptibility information are available, they should be considered in selecting or modifying antibacterial therapy. In the absence of such data, local epidemiology and susceptibility patterns may contribute to the empiric selection of therapy.
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
Erythromycin is well absorbed and may be given without regard to meals. Optimum blood levels are obtained in a fasting state (administration at least one half hour and preferably two hours before or after a meal); however, blood levels obtained upon administration of enteric-coated erythromycin products in the presence of food are still above minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of most organisms for which erythromycin is indicated.
Adults: The usual dose is 250 mg every 6 hours taken one hour before meals. If twice-a-day dosage is desired, the recommended dose is 500 mg every 12 hours. Dosage may be increased up to 4 grams per day, according to the severity of the infection. Twice-a-day dosing is not recommended when doses larger than 1 gram daily are administered.
Children: Age, weight, and severity of the infection are important factors in determining the proper dosage. The usual dosage is 30 to 50 mg/kg/day in divided doses. For the treatment of more severe infections, this dose may be doubled.
A therapeutic dosage of oral erythromycin should be administered for at least 10 days. For continuous prophylaxis against recurrences of streptococcal infections in persons with a history of rheumatic heart disease, the dose is 250 mg twice a day.
30 to 40 grams given in divided doses over a period of 10 to 15 days.
250 mg four times daily for 10 to 14 days for adults; 30 to 50 mg/kg/day in divided doses for 10 to 14 days for children.
Although optimal doses have not been established, doses utilized in reported clinical data were those recommended above (1 to 4 grams daily in divided doses).
Urogenital infections during pregnancy due to Chlamydia trachomatis
Although the optimal dose and duration of therapy have not been established, the suggested treatment is erythromycin 500 mg, by mouth, 4 times a day on an empty stomach for at least 7 days. For women who cannot tolerate this regimen, a decreased dose of 250 mg, by mouth, 4 times a day should be used for at least 14 days.
For adults with uncomplicated urethral, endocervical, or rectal infections caused by Chlamydia trachomatis in whom tetracyclines are contraindicated or not tolerated: 500 mg, by mouth, 4 times a day for at least 7 days.
Although optimum dosage and duration of therapy have not been established, doses of erythromycin utilized in reported clinical studies were 40 to 50 mg/kg/day, given in divided doses for 5 to 14 days.
Nongonococcal urethritis due to Ureaplasma urealyticum
When tetracycline is contraindicated or not tolerated: 500 mg of erythromycin, orally, four times daily for at least 7 days.
Acute pelvic inflammatory disease due to N gonorrhoeae
500 mg IV of erythromycin lactobionate for injection, USP every 6 hours for 3 days followed by 250 mg of erythromycin, orally every six hours for 7 days.
Each clear and orange opaque capsule imprinted Eryc WC 696 contains 250 mg erythromycin as enteric-coated pellets. The pellets are colored white and orange. Capsules are supplied in bulk containers of 75,000 (NDC 50546-300-01).
Store at controlled room temperature 15° C to 30° C (59° F to 86° F).
3. Committee on Rheumatic Fever, Endocarditis, and Kawasaki Disease of the Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young, the American Heart Association: Prevention of Rheumatic Fever. Circulation. 78(4):1082-1086, October 1988.
Manufactured by: Mayne Pharma International Pty Ltd, 1538 Main North Road, Salisbury South, SA 5106, South Australia. Marketed by: Warner Chilcott (US), LLC 100 Enterprise Drive, Rockaway, NJ 07866 USA. Revised - 2012
Last reviewed on RxList: 2/24/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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