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Erythromycin and Benzoyl Peroxide

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 8, 2020.


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Index Terms

  • Benzoyl Peroxide and Erythromycin

Dosage Forms

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling. [DSC] = Discontinued product

Gel, External:

Benzamycin: erythromycin 3% and benzoyl peroxide 5% (46.6 g) [contains alcohol, usp]

Generic: erythromycin 3% and benzoyl peroxide 5% (23.3 g, 46.6 g)

Packet, External:

Aktipak: erythromycin 3% and benzoyl peroxide 5% (60 ea [DSC])

Brand Names: U.S.

  • Aktipak [DSC]
  • Benzamycin

Pharmacologic Category

  • Acne Products
  • Topical Skin Product, Acne

Use: Labeled Indications

Topical control of acne vulgaris


Hypersensitivity to erythromycin, benzoyl peroxide, or any component of the formulation

Dosing: Adult

Acne: Topical: Apply twice daily, morning and evening.

Dosing: Geriatric

Refer to adult dosing.

Dosing: Pediatric

Acne vulgaris: Note: Guidelines recommend as monotherapy for mild acne or in combination with topical retinoids or systemic antibiotics for moderate to severe acne (AAD [Zaenglein 2016]).

Children ≥7 years and Adolescents: Limited data available in <12 years (Eichenfield 2013): Topical: Apply to affected area(s) twice daily, in the morning and in the evening.


For external use only; avoid applying to inside nose, mouth, eyes, and mucous membranes. Apply to clean, dry skin. Wash hands before and after use.

Aktipak: Mix right before each use.


Benzamycin: Prior to dispensing, store at 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F). Once reconstituted and dispensed, patient should store in refrigerator, between 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F) and use within 3 months. Do not freeze.

Drug Interactions

Clindamycin (Topical): Erythromycin (Topical) may diminish the therapeutic effect of Clindamycin (Topical). Avoid combination

Dapsone (Topical): Benzoyl Peroxide may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Dapsone (Topical). Specifically, the use of these agents in combination may cause skin and facial hair to temporarily turn a tan or yellow/orange color. Monitor therapy

Isotretinoin (Topical): Benzoyl Peroxide may diminish the therapeutic effect of Isotretinoin (Topical). Management: Avoid combined use of benzoyl peroxide and topical isotretinoin. If concomitant use cannot be avoided, consider separating application times and monitoring for signs and symptoms of clinical failure of isotretinoin. Consider therapy modification

Adverse Reactions

The following adverse drug reactions and incidences are derived from product labeling unless otherwise specified.

Frequency not always defined. Also see individual agents.

1% to 10%:

Dermatologic: Xeroderma (3% to 8%), urticaria (3%), pruritus (2% to 3%), burning sensation of skin (1% to 3%), erythema (1% to 3%), stinging of the skin (1% to 3%), skin photosensitivity (1%), desquamation, oily skin, skin discoloration, skin tenderness, swelling of skin

Ophthalmic: Blepharitis (≤2%)


Concerns related to adverse effects:

• Bleaching effects: May bleach hair or colored fabric.

• Skin irritation: Discontinue use if severe skin irritation or redness occurs.

• Superinfection: Prolonged use may result in fungal or bacterial superinfection, including C. difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD) and pseudomembranous colitis; CDAD has been observed >2 months postantibiotic treatment. Stop the drug if significant diarrhea occurs.

Concurrent drug therapy issues:

• Sulfone products: Concomitant use of benzoyl peroxide with sulfone products (eg, dapsone, sulfacetamide) may cause temporary discoloration (yellow/orange) of facial hair and skin. Application of products at separate times during the day or washing off benzoyl peroxide prior to application of other products may avoid skin discoloration (Dubina 2009).

• Topical acne products: Use concomitant topical acne therapy with caution; cumulative irritancy may occur.

Other warnings/precautions:

• Appropriate use: For external use only; avoid contact with mucous membranes and eyes.

Pregnancy Risk Factor C Pregnancy Considerations

Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with this combination. Refer to individual monographs.

Patient Education

What is this drug used for?

• It is used to treat pimples (acne).

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

• Dry skin

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

• Severe skin irritation

Clostridioides (formerly Clostridium) difficile-associated diarrhea like abdominal pain or cramps, severe diarrhea or watery stools, or bloody stools

• Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a limited summary of general information about the medicine's uses from the patient education leaflet and is not intended to be comprehensive. This limited summary does NOT include all information available about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. For a more detailed summary of information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine, please speak with your healthcare provider and review the entire patient education leaflet.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.