Last reviewed 02/2021

The antibacterial spectrum of erythromycin is similar to that of penicillin and it therefore provides an alternative in penicillin hypersensitive patients. It acts by inhibition of bacterial protein synthesis by binding to 50S ribosomal subunits.


  • hepatic impairment


  • porphyria


  • diarrhoea
  • cholestatic jaundice if give for more than 14 days
  • nausea and vomiting
  • sensorineural deafness when given in high doses, or to patients with renal or hepatic failure

Routes of administration:

  • oral:
    • tablets, capsules, mixture, suspension or granules
    • a standard dose is 250-500 mg every 6 hr
  • i.v. infusion:
    • 25-50 mg/kg daily

The summary of product characteristics must be consulted before prescribing this drug.


  1. Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin 1995;33 (10): 76-8.
  2. Current Problems in Pharmacovigilance 2006;31:1-12.