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Erythromycin (Ophthalmic)

Medically reviewed on Nov 15, 2018


(er ith roe MYE sin)

Index Terms

  • Erythromycin Base

Dosage Forms

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

Ointment, Ophthalmic:

Ilotycin: 5 mg/g (1 g [DSC])

Romycin: 5 mg/g (3.5 g [DSC])

Generic: 5 mg/g (1 g, 3.5 g)

Brand Names: U.S.

  • Ilotycin [DSC]
  • Romycin [DSC]

Pharmacologic Category

  • Antibiotic, Macrolide
  • Antibiotic, Ophthalmic


Inhibits RNA-dependent protein synthesis at the chain elongation step; binds to the 50S ribosomal subunit resulting in blockage of transpeptidation

Use: Labeled Indications

Ocular infections (superficial): Treatment of superficial ocular infections involving the conjunctiva or cornea caused by organisms susceptible to erythromycin ophthalmic ointment

Ophthalmia neonatorum: Prophylaxis of ophthalmia neonatorum due to N. gonorrhoeae or C. trachomatis


Hypersensitivity to erythromycin or any component of the formulation

Dosing: Adult

Ocular infections, superficial: Ophthalmic: Instill ~1 cm ribbon into affected eye(s) up to 6 times daily, depending on the severity of the infection

Dosing: Geriatric

Refer to adult dosing.

Dosing: Pediatric

Ocular infections (superficial): Children: Ophthalmic: Refer to adult dosing

Prophylaxis of neonatal gonococcal or chlamydial ophthalmia: Ophthalmic: Infants: Instill ~1 cm ribbon into each lower conjunctival sac


Avoid contact of tip of ophthalmic ointment tube with affected eye. When using for ophthalmia neonatorum prophylaxis, do not flush ointment from eye following instillation; use a new ointment tube for each neonate.


Store at 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F); protect from freezing and excessive heat.

Drug Interactions

Vitamin K Antagonists (eg, warfarin): Erythromycin (Ophthalmic) may increase the serum concentration of Vitamin K Antagonists. Monitor therapy

Adverse Reactions

Frequency not defined.

Ocular: Hypersensitivity, minor ocular irritation, redness


Dosage form specific issues:

• For ophthalmic use only. Avoid contamination. Do not touch tip of applicator or let tip of applicator touch eye.

Pregnancy Risk Factor


Pregnancy Considerations

Adverse events were not observed in animal reproduction studies. Erythromycin has been shown to cross the placenta following oral dosing. Refer to the Erythromycin (Systemic) monograph for details. The amount of erythromycin available systemically following ophthalmic application is not known. Systemic absorption would be required in order for erythromycin to cross the placenta and reach the fetus.

Patient Education

• Discuss specific use of drug and side effects with patient as it relates to treatment. (HCAHPS: During this hospital stay, were you given any medicine that you had not taken before? Before giving you any new medicine, how often did hospital staff tell you what the medicine was for? How often did hospital staff describe possible side effects in a way you could understand?)

• Patient may experience eye redness. Have patient report immediately to prescriber vision changes, eye pain, or severe eye irritation (HCAHPS).

• Educate patient about signs of a significant reaction (eg, wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat). Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Patient should consult prescriber for additional questions.

Intended Use and Disclaimer: Should not be printed and given to patients. This information is intended to serve as a concise initial reference for health care professionals to use when discussing medications with a patient. You must ultimately rely on your own discretion, experience, and judgment in diagnosing, treating, and advising patients.

Further information

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