Data from FDA (Food and Drug Administration, USA) - Curated by Marshall Pearce - Last updated 06 November 2017

Indication(s)

INDICATIONS AND USAGE To reduce the development of drug-resistant bacteria and maintain the effectiveness of erythromycin ethylsuccinate tablets, USP and other antibacterial drugs, erythromycin ethylsuccinate tablets, USP should be used only to treat or prevent infections that are proven or strongly suspected to be caused by susceptible bacteria. When culture and susceptibility information are available, they should be considered in selecting or modifying antibacterial therapy. In the absence of such data, local epidemiology and susceptibility patterns may contribute to the empiric selection of therapy. Erythromycin ethylsuccinate tablets, USP are indicated in the treatment of infections caused by susceptible strains of the designated organisms in the diseases listed below: Upper respiratory tract infections of mild to moderate degree caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus pneumoniae, or Haemophilus influenzae (when used concomitantly with adequate doses of sulfonamides, since many strains of H. influenzae are not susceptible to the erythromycin concentrations ordinarily achieved). (See appropriate sulfonamide labeling for prescribing information.) Lower-respiratory tract infections of mild to moderate severity caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae or Streptococcus pyogenes. Listeriosis caused by Listeria monocytogenes. Pertussis (whooping cough) caused by Bordetella pertussis. Erythromycin is effective in eliminating the organism from the nasopharynx of infected individuals rendering them noninfectious. Some clinical studies suggest that erythromycin may be helpful in the prophylaxis of pertussis in exposed susceptible individuals. Respiratory tract infections due to Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Skin and skin structure infections of mild to moderate severity caused by Streptococcus pyogenes or Staphylococcus aureus (resistant staphylococci may emerge during treatment). Diphtheria: Infections due to Corynebacterium diphtheriae, as an adjunct to antitoxin, to prevent establishment of carriers and to eradicate the organism in carriers. Erythrasma: In the treatment of infections due to Corynebacterium minutissimum. Intestinal amebiasis caused by Entamoeba histolytica (oral erythromycins only). Extraenteric amebiasis requires treatment with other agents. Acute pelvic inflammatory disease caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae: As an alternative drug in treatment of acute pelvic inflammatory disease caused by N. gonorrhoeae in female patients with a history of sensitivity to penicillin. Patients should have a serologic test for syphilis before receiving erythromycin as treatment of gonorrhea and a follow-up serologic test for syphilis after 3 months. Syphilis caused by Treponema pallidum: Erythromycin is an alternate choice of treatment for primary syphilis in patients allergic to the penicillins. In treatment of primary syphilis, spinal fluid examinations should be done before treatment and as part of follow-up after therapy. Erythromycins are indicated for the treatment of the following infections caused by Chlamydia trachomatis: conjunctivitis of the newborn, pneumonia of infancy, and urogenital infections during pregnancy. When tetracyclines are contraindicated or not tolerated, erythromycin is indicated for the treatment of uncomplicated urethral, endocervical, or rectal infections in adults due to Chlamydia trachomatis. When tetracyclines are contraindicated or not tolerated, erythromycin is indicated for the treatment of nongonococcal urethritis caused by Ureaplasma urealyticum. Legionnaires' Disease caused by Legionella pneumophila. Although no controlled clinical efficacy studies have been conducted, in vitro and limited preliminary clinical data suggest that erythromycin may be effective in treating Legionnaires' Disease. Prophylaxis Prevention of Initial Attacks of Rheumatic Fever Penicillin is considered by the American Heart Association to be the drug of choice in the prevention of initial attacks of rheumatic fever (treatment of Streptococcus pyogenes infections of the upper respiratory tract, e.g., tonsillitis or pharyngitis). Erythromycin is indicated for the treatment of penicillin-allergic patients.4 The therapeutic dose should be administered for 10 days. Prevention of Recurrent Attacks of Rheumatic Fever Penicillin or sulfonamides are considered by the American Heart Association to be the drugs of choice in the prevention of recurrent attacks of rheumatic fever. In patients who are allergic to penicillin and sulfonamides, oral erythromycin is recommended by the American Heart Association in the long-term prophylaxis of streptococcal pharyngitis (for the prevention of recurrent attacks of rheumatic fever).4

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Advisory information

contraindications
CONTRAINDICATIONS Erythromycin is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to this antibiotic. Erythromycin is contraindicated in patients taking terfenadine, astemizole, pimozide, or cisapride. (See PRECAUTIONS - Drug Interactions .)
Special warnings and precautions
PRECAUTIONS General Prescribing erythromycin ethylsuccinate tablets in the absence of a proven or strongly suspected bacterial infection or a prophylactic indication is unlikely to provide benefit to the patient and increases the risk of the development of drug-resistant bacteria. Since erythromycin is principally excreted by the liver, caution should be exercised when erythromycin is administered to patients with impaired hepatic function. (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY and WARNINGS sections.) Exacerbation of symptoms of myasthenia gravis and new onset of symptoms of myasthenic syndrome have been reported in patients receiving erythromycin therapy. There have been reports of infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis (IHPS) occurring in infants following erythromycin therapy. In one cohort of 157 newborns who were given erythromycin for pertussis prophylaxis, seven neonates (5%) developed symptoms of non-bilious vomiting or irritability with feeding and were subsequently diagnosed as having IHPS requiring surgical pyloromyotomy. A possible dose-response effect was described with an absolute risk of IHPS of 5.1% for infants who took erythromycin for 8 to 14 days and 10% for infants who took erythromycin for 15 to 21 days.5 Since erythromycin may be used in the treatment of conditions in infants which are associated with significant mortality or morbidity (such as pertussis or neonatal Chlamydia trachomatis infections), the benefit of erythromycin therapy needs to be weighed against the potential risk of developing IHPS. Parents should be informed to contact their physician if vomiting or irritability with feeding occurs. Prolonged or repeated use of erythromycin may result in an overgrowth of nonsusceptible bacteria or fungi. If superinfection occurs, erythromycin should be discontinued and appropriate therapy instituted. When indicated, incision and drainage or other surgical procedures should be performed in conjunction with antibiotic therapy. Information for Patients Patients should be counseled that antibacterial drugs including erythromycin ethylsuccinate tablets should only be used to treat bacterial infections. They do not treat viral infections (e.g., the common cold). When erythromycin ethylsuccinate tablets is prescribed to treat a bacterial infection, patients should be told that although it is common to feel better early in the course of therapy, the medication should be taken exactly as directed. Skipping doses or not completing the full course of therapy may (1) decrease the effectiveness of the immediate treatment and (2) increase the likelihood that bacteria will develop resistance and will not be treatable by erythromycin ethylsuccinate tablets or other antibacterial drugs in the future. Diarrhea is a common problem caused by antibiotics which usually ends when the antibiotic is discontinued. Sometimes after starting treatment with antibiotics, patients can develop watery and bloody stools (with or without stomach cramps and fever) even as late as two or more months after having taken the last dose of the antibiotic. If this occurs, patients should contact their physician as soon as possible. Drug Interactions Theophylline Erythromycin use in patients who are receiving high doses of theophylline may be associated with an increase in serum theophylline levels and potential theophylline toxicity. In case of theophylline toxicity and/or elevated serum theophylline levels, the dose of theophylline should be reduced while the patient is receiving concomitant erythromycin therapy. There have been published reports suggesting that when oral erythromycin is given concurrently with theophylline there is a decrease in erythromycin serum concentrations of approximately 35%. The mechanism by which this interaction occurs is unknown. The decrease in erythromycin concentrations due to co-administration of theophylline could result in subtherapeutic concentrations of erythromycin. Verapamil Hypotension, bradyarrhythmias, and lactic acidosis have been observed in patients receiving concurrent verapamil, belonging to the calcium channel blockers drug class. Digoxin Concomitant administration of erythromycin and digoxin has been reported to result in elevated digoxin serum levels. Anticoagulants There have been reports of increased anticoagulant effects when erythromycin and oral anticoagulants were used concomitantly. Increased anticoagulation effects due to interactions of erythromycin with various oral anticoagulants may be more pronounced in the elderly. Erythromycin is a substrate and inhibitor of the 3A isoform subfamily of the cytochrome p450 enzyme system (CYP3A). Coadministration of erythromycin and a drug primarily metabolized by CYP3A may be associated with elevations in drug concentrations that could increase or prolong both the therapeutic and adverse effects of the concomitant drug. Dosage adjustments may be considered, and when possible, serum concentrations of drugs primarily metabolized by CYP3A should be monitored closely in patients concurrently receiving erythromycin. The following are examples of some clinically significant CYP3A based drug interactions. Interactions with other drugs metabolized by the CYP3A isoform are also possible. The following CYP3A based drug interactions have been observed with erythromycin products in post-marketing experience: Ergotamine/dihydroergotamine Post-marketing reports indicate that co-administration of erythromycin with ergotamine or dihydroergotamine has been associated with acute ergot toxicity characterized by vasospasm and ischemia of the extremities and other tissues including the central nervous system. Concomitant administration of erythromycin with ergotamine or dihydroergotamine is contraindicated (see CONTRAINDICATIONS ). Triazolobenzodiazepines (such as triazolam and alprazolam) and related benzodiazepines Erythromycin has been reported to decrease the clearance of triazolam and midazolam, and thus, may increase the pharmacologic effect of these benzodiazepines. HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors Erythromycin has been reported to increase concentrations of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (e.g., lovastatin and simvastatin). Rare reports of rhabdomyolysis have been reported in patients taking these drugs concomitantly. Sildenafil (Viagra) Erythromycin has been reported to increase the systemic exposure (AUC) of sildenafil. Reduction of sildenafil dosage should be considered. (See Viagra package insert.) There have been spontaneous or published reports of CYP3A based interactions of erythromycin with cyclosporine, carbamazepine, tacrolimus, alfentanil, disopyramide, rifabutin, quinidine, methylprednisolone, cilostazol, vinblastine, and bromocriptine. Concomitant administration of erythromycin with cisapride, pimozide, astemizole, or terfenadine is contraindicated. (See CONTRAINDICATIONS .) In addition, there have been reports of interactions of erythromycin with drugs not thought to be metabolized by CYP3A, including hexobarbital, phenytoin, and valproate. Erythromycin has been reported to significantly alter the metabolism of the nonsedating antihistamines terfenadine and astemizole when taken concomitantly. Rare cases of serious cardiovascular adverse events, including electrocardiographic QT/QTc interval prolongation, cardiac arrest, torsades de pointes, and other ventricular arrhythmias have been observed. (See CONTRAINDICATIONS .) In addition, deaths have been reported rarely with concomitant administration of terfenadine and erythromycin. There have been post-marketing reports of drug interactions when erythromycin is co-administered with cisapride, resulting in QT prolongation, cardiac arrhythmias, ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, and torsades de pointes, most likely due to inhibition of hepatic metabolism of cisapride by erythromycin. Fatalities have been reported. (See CONTRAINDICATIONS .) Colchicine Colchicine is a substrate for both CYP3A4 and the efflux transporter P-glycoprotein (P-gp). Erythromycin is considered a moderate inhibitor of CYP3A4. A significant increase in colchicine plasma concentration is anticipated when co-administered with moderate CYP3A4 inhibitors such as erythromycin. If co-administration of colchicine and erythromycin is necessary, the starting dose of colchicine may need to be reduced, and the maximum colchicine dose should be lowered. Patients should be monitored for clinical symptoms of colchicine toxicity (see WARNINGS ). Drug/Laboratory Test Interactions Erythromycin interferes with the fluorometric determination of urinary catecholamines. Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility Long-term oral dietary studies conducted with erythromycin stearate in rats up to 400 mg/kg/day and in mice up to about 500 mg/kg/day (approximately 1 to 2 fold of the maximum human dose on a body surface area basis) did not provide evidence of tumorigenicity. Erythromycin stearate did not show genotoxic potential in the Ames, and mouse lymphoma assays or induce chromosomal aberrations in CHO cells. There was no apparent effect on male or female fertility in rats treated with erythromycin base by oral gavage at 700 mg/kg/day (approximately 3 times the maximum human dose on a body surface area basis). Pregnancy Teratogenic Effects Pregnancy Category B There is no evidence of teratogenicity or any other adverse effect on reproduction in female rats fed erythromycin base by oral gavage at 350 mg/kg/day (approximately twice the maximum recommended human dose on a body surface area) prior to and during mating, during gestation, and through weaning. No evidence of teratogenicity or embryotoxicity was observed when erythromycin base was given by oral gavage to pregnant rats and mice at 700 mg/kg/day and to pregnant rabbits at 125 mg/kg/day (approximately 1 to 3 times the maximum recommended human dose). Labor and Delivery The effect of erythromycin on labor and delivery is unknown. Nursing Mothers Erythromycin is excreted in human milk. Caution should be exercised when erythromycin is administered to a nursing woman. Pediatric Use See INDICATIONS AND USAGE and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION sections. Geriatric Use Elderly patients, particularly those with reduced renal or hepatic function, may be at increased risk for developing erythromycin-induced hearing loss. (See ADVERSE REACTIONS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.) Elderly patients may be more susceptible to the development of torsades de pointes arrhythmias than younger patients.(See WARNINGS.) Elderly patients may experience increased effects of oral anticoagulant therapy while undergoing treatment with erythromycin. (See PRECAUTIONS - Drug Interactions . ) Erythromycin Ethylsuccinate Tablets (400 mg) contain 47 mg (2 mEq) of sodium and 9.2 mg (0.3 mEq) of potassium per tablet. The geriatric population may respond with a blunted natriuresis to salt loading. This may be clinically important with regard to such diseases as congestive heart failure.
Adverse reactions
ADVERSE REACTIONS 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 section.) Onset of pseudomembranous colitis symptoms may occur during or after antibacterial treatment. (See WARNINGS section.) Erythromycin has been associated with QT prolongation and ventricular arrhythmias, including ventricular tachycardia and torsades de pointes. (See WARNINGS.) 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 reports of interstitial nephritis coincident with erythromycin use. 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.

Usage information

Dosing and administration
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION Erythromycin ethylsuccinate tablets may be administered without regard to meals. To avoid unpleasant taste, the 400 mg tablets should not be chewed. Children Age, weight, and severity of the infection are important factors in determining the proper dosage. In mild to moderate infections the usual dosage of erythromycin ethylsuccinate for children is 30 to 50 mg/kg/day in equally divided doses every 6 hours. For more severe infections this dosage may be doubled. If twice-a-day dosage is desired, one-half of the total daily dose may be given every 12 hours. Doses may also be given three times daily by administering one-third of the total daily dose every 8 hours. The following dosage schedule is suggested for mild to moderate infections: Body Weight Total Daily Dose Under 10 lbs 30 to 50 mg/kg/day 15 to 25 mg/lb/day 10 to 15 lbs 200 mg 16 to 25 lbs 400 mg 26 to 50 lbs 800 mg 51 to 100 lbs 1200 mg over 100 lbs 1600 mg Adults 400 mg erythromycin ethylsuccinate every 6 hours is the usual dose. Dosage may be increased up to 4 g per day according to the severity of the infection. If twice-a-day dosage is desired, one-half of the total daily dose may be given every 12 hours. Doses may also be given three times daily by administering one-third of the total daily dose every 8 hours. For adult dosage calculation, use a ratio of 400 mg of erythromycin activity as the ethylsuccinate to 250 mg of erythromycin activity as the stearate, base or estolate. In the treatment of streptococcal infections, a therapeutic dosage of erythromycin ethylsuccinate should be administered for at least 10 days. In continuous prophylaxis against recurrences of streptococcal infections in persons with a history of rheumatic heart disease, the usual dosage is 400 mg twice a day. For Treatment of Urethritis Due to C. trachomatis or U. urealyticum 800 mg three times a day for 7 days. For Treatment of Primary Syphilis Adults 48 to 64 g given in divided doses over a period of 10 to 15 days. For Intestinal Amebiasis Adults 400 mg four times daily for 10 to 14 days. Children: 30 to 50 mg/kg/day in divided doses for 10 to 14 days. For Use in Pertussis Although optimal dosage and duration have not been established, doses of erythromycin utilized in reported clinical studies were 40 to 50 mg/kg/day, given in divided doses for 5 to 14 days. For Treatment of Legionnaires' Disease Although optimal doses have not been established, doses utilized in reported clinical data were those recommended above (1.6 to 4 g daily in divided doses.)
Pregnancy and lactation
Nursing Mothers Erythromycin is excreted in human milk. Caution should be exercised when erythromycin is administered to a nursing woman.

Interactions

Drug Interactions Serious adverse reactions have been reported in patients taking erythromycin concomitantly with CYP3A4 substrates. These include colchicine toxicity with colchicine; rhabdomyolysis with simvastatin, lovastatin, and atorvastatin; and hypotension with calcium channel blockers metabolized by CYP3A4 (e.g., verapamil, amlodipine, diltiazem) (see PRECAUTIONS-Drug Interactions ). There have been post-marketing reports of colchicine toxicity with concomitant use of erythromycin and colchicine. This interaction is potentially life-threatening, and may occur while using both drugs at their recommended doses (see PRECAUTIONS-Drug Interactions ). Rhabdomyolysis with or without renal impairment has been reported in seriously ill patients receiving erythromycin concomitantly with lovastatin. Therefore, patients receiving concomitant lovastatin and erythromycin should be carefully monitored for creatine kinase (CK) and serum transaminase levels. (See package insert for lovastatin.)

More information

Category Value
Authorisation number ANDA061904
Agency product number 1014KSJ86F
Orphan designation No
Product NDC 24338-110
Date Last Revised 19-09-2017
Type HUMAN PRESCRIPTION DRUG
RXCUI 686405
Storage and handling Recommended storage Protect tablets from exposure to light and moisture. Store below 86°F (30°C).
Marketing authorisation holder Arbor Pharmaceuticals, Inc.