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Erythromycin (Ophthalmic)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 9, 2020.


(er ith roe MYE sin)

Index Terms

  • Erythromycin Base

Dosage Forms

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling.

Ointment, Ophthalmic:

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

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: Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Ophthalmic: Instill 1 cm ribbon into affected eye(s) up to 6 times daily depending on the severity of the infection


Avoid contact of tip of ophthalmic ointment tube with affected eye.


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

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

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. The amount of erythromycin available systemically following ophthalmic application is not known. However, erythromycin ophthalmic is considered acceptable for use in pregnant women (Robert 2001).

Patient Education

What is this drug used for?

• It is used to treat or prevent eye infections.

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:

• Eye redness

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:

• Vision changes

• Eye pain

• Severe eye irritation

• 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.