Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP Last updated on RxList: 8/11/2021
Erythromycin Side Effects Center

What Is Erythromycin?

Erythromycin Base Filmtab (erythromycin) is a macrolide antibiotic used to treat people that are infected with organisms susceptible to erythromycin. Some of the diseases Erythromycin Base Filmtab treats are mild to moderate upper and lower respiratory tract infections, listeriosis, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), skin infections, and many others. Erythromycin Base Filmtab is available in generic form.

What Are Side Effects of Erythromycin?

Common side effects of Erythromycin Base Filmtabs include:

  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • diarrhea,
  • abdominal swelling,
  • feeling unwell,
  • confusion,
  • drowsiness,
  • dark-colored urine,
  • clay-colored stools,
  • loss of appetite,
  • weakness,
  • itching,
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice),
  • fever,
  • abdominal cramps,
  • dehydration,
  • watery diarrhea,
  • pus or mucus in your stool,
  • shortness of breath,
  • racing or slow heartbeat,
  • chest pain,
  • dizziness,
  • fluttering or pounding heartbeat,
  • fainting,
  • lightheadedness,
  • cold sweats,
  • low blood pressure,
  • itching,
  • swelling of the lips, eyelids, and inside your throat,
  • joint pain,
  • sudden rash appearing on the palms of the hands, soles of your feet and face,
  • rash,
  • raw and painful areas on your skin,
  • skin peeling without blistering,
  • increased urine output,
  • high blood pressure,
  • sudden weight gain,
  • abdominal pain radiating to your back,
  • abdominal pain that increases after eating,
  • elevated pulse, and
  • loss of appetite.

Dosage for Erythromycin

The adult dose of Erythromycin Base Filmtab is one 250 mg tablet 4 times per day with a maximum dose of 4 grams per 24 hours while the 500 mg tablet is twice a day (total doses over 1 gram per day should be divided into 4 doses per 24 hours). Pediatric doses range from 30 to 50 mg/Kg/day (milligrams per Kilogram per 24 hours), but should not exceed 4g per day. Patients are advised to take Erythromycin Base Filmtab tablets without food, at least ½ hour up to 2 hrs (the preferred time interval) before eating food.

What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Erythromycin?

Erythromycin Base Filmtabs may interact with ergotamine, dihydroergotamine, benzodiazepines, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, sildenafil, cyclosporine, carbamazepine, tacrolimus, alfentanil, disopyramide, rifabutin, quinidine, methylprednisolone, cilostazol, vinblastine, bromocriptine, cisapride, pimozide, astemizole, terfenadine, hexobarbital, phenytoin, valproate, and astemizole.

Erythromycin During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant before using Erythromycin Base Filmtab; it is unknown if it will affect a fetus. Erythromycin Base Filmtab passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Additional Information

Our Erythromycin Base Filmtabs Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


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Erythromycin Consumer Information

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Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe stomach pain, diarrhea that is watery or bloody (even if it occurs months after your last dose);
  • headache with chest pain and severe dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeats;
  • a seizure;
  • hearing problems (rare);
  • pancreatitis--severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting; or
  • liver problems--loss of appetite, stomach pain (upper right side), tiredness, easy bruising or bleeding, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Serious side effects may be more likely in older adults, including hearing loss, or a life-threatening fast heart rate.

Call your doctor if a baby using this medicine is vomiting or irritable with feeding.

Common side effects may include:

  • severe stomach pain, diarrhea that is watery or bloody (even if it occurs months after your last dose);
  • liver problems; or
  • abnormal liver function tests.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Erythromycin (Erythromycin Tablets)


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Erythromycin Professional Information


The most frequent side effects of oral erythromycin preparations are gastrointestinal and are dose-related. They include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and anorexia. Symptoms of hepatitis, hepatic dysfunction and/or abnormal liver function test results may occur. (See WARNINGS.)

Onset of pseudomembranous colitis symptoms may occur during or after antibacterial treatment. (See WARNINGS.) Erythromycin has been associated with QT prolongation and ventricular arrhythmias, including ventricular tachycardia and torsades de pointes.

Allergic reactions ranging from urticaria to anaphylaxis have occurred. Skin reactions ranging from mild eruptions to erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and toxic epidermal necrolysis have been reported rarely.

There have been rare reports of pancreatitis and convulsions.

There have been isolated reports of reversible hearing loss occurring chiefly in patients with renal insufficiency and in patients receiving high doses of erythromycin.

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Erythromycin (Erythromycin Tablets)

© Erythromycin Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Erythromycin Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.

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