What are the Different Uses of Erythromycin Ointment?

K. Gierok

Erythromycin is a prescription medication that is commonly used in the treatment of a number of skin and eye infections. Though it can be given in an oral form, the drug is most often prescribed as an ointment. One of the most common ways in which erythromycin ointment is used is in the treatment of acne. In addition, this medication is commonly used to treat pink eye, and to prevent blindness in newborn infants. Though other forms of medication and treatment may be required for some infants who appear to be especially prone to eye infection, erythromycin appears to be highly effective.

Erythromycin ointment may be used to treat eye infections.
Erythromycin ointment may be used to treat eye infections.

The medication has been found to be highly effective at reducing bacteria that have been linked to the development of acne, which is essential when it comes to reducing the size and occurrence of pimples. For best results, those who have been prescribed erythromycin cream are typically encouraged to apply a thin layer of the cream on their face at regularly-spaced intervals, twice a day. Patients who use erythromycin ointment for the treatment of acne must use restraint when it comes to applying the cream, as applying too heavy of a layer can lead to serious side effects. It can take up to four months before symptoms of acne begin to disappear.

Topical erythromycin may be used to treat severe acne.
Topical erythromycin may be used to treat severe acne.

In many cases, erythromycin ointment is also used to treat pink eye. Pink eye is generally defined as the inflammation of the lining of the eyelid, and often leads to severe pain, swelling, and a pink or red discoloration. When used in the treatment of this condition, erythromycin ointment is spread in a thin layer on the lower eyelid. Using this cream several times a day for a few days has been found to be effective in the treatment of the condition. As when treating acne, those suffering from pink eye should use caution when applying the ointment, as putting on too thick a layer can lead to serious side effects.

Often, erythromycin ointment is applied to the eyelids of newborn infants. During birth, bacteria naturally found in the birth canal can make its way into the eyes of an infant, leading to possible blindness. In most cases, when applied quickly, treatment with erythromycin ointment is enough to prevent the development of this condition, though in some cases, more aggressive medical treatment may be required.

Topical erythromycin can be used to treat conjunctivitis.
Topical erythromycin can be used to treat conjunctivitis.

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Discussion Comments


@stoneMason-- You need to call and ask your doctor or a pharmacist.

When I was prescribed erythromycin ointment, my doctor said that I could apply it up to four or five times a day. And I was directed to apply it for a week. But I'm sure that the dose depends on how bad the infection is. So you should ask your doctor for the most accurate answer.

Just like oral antibiotics, if you don't use antibiotic ointments according to the directions, in the right doses and for long enough, the infection will not go away. And make sure that you pay extra attention to hygiene during this time. Wash your hands before applying the ointment and do not touch your eyes otherwise. You can also use chamomile tea bags as warm compresses for pink eye.


My doctor gave me this ointment for pink eye. I have been using it several times a day for three days but my pink eye is not yet gone. Should I continue to use this ointment? Can I use the ointment more than twice a day?


As far as I know, erythromycin eye ointment is not only used in newborns to prevent infection, but also in adults.

For example, it may be used before or after eye surgery to prevent infections. Or if a foreign object enters the eye, an eye doctor may prescribe this ointment to prevent or treat infection caused by the foreign object.

So this is a very beneficial ointment and can be used in many different situations as not just a treatment but also as a precautionary measure when the possibility of infection is high.

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