What Factors Affect a Sufficient Erythromycin Dose?

Madeleine A.

Factors affecting a sufficient erythromycin dose include the type of infection, the patient's weight, and his current medical conditions. The severity of infection and response to erythromycin may also play a role in the prescribed erythromycin dose. The standard erythromycin dose for adults is between 400 mg and 800 mg two to four times daily, depending upon the severity and type of infection, and the type of erythromycin that is administered. A pediatric erythromycin dose is calculated based on the weight of the child.

Erythromycin is a substitute antibiotic for patients who are allergic to penicillin.
Erythromycin is a substitute antibiotic for patients who are allergic to penicillin.

Erythromycin is an antibiotic used to treat respiratory infections, skin infections, and certain sexually transmitted diseases. Legionnaires' disease, diphtheria, and listeriosis are also commonly treated with erythromycin. Also, streptococcal infections such as strep throat and rheumatic fever respond favorably to the standard erythromycin dose. Although penicillin is typically the antibiotic of choice in the treatment of these conditions, erythromycin is usually prescribed for those who are allergic to penicillin.

This antibiotic is only effective in the treatment of certain bacterial infections, and like all antibiotics, is of no use in the treatment of viral infections. Erythromycin can cause side effects, which include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea. Loss of appetite and abdominal pain may also occur. Topical forms of erythromycin used in the treatment of acne may cause dryness, redness, peeling, and itching of the skin. Oily skin, tenderness, and burning may also occur in certain people.

Serious but rare side effects can also occur when taking erythromycin. They include a serious gastrointestinal condition known as pseudomembranous colitis, which can cause severe or bloody diarrhea. This antibiotic can also cause heart rhythm abnormalities, especially in people who already have certain pre-existing heart conditions. The overuse of this and other antibiotics can elevate the risk of getting an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection as well.

Even at a low erythromycin dose, yeast infections can occur, such as vaginal yeast infections or oral yeast infections, known as thrush. Although erythromycin is known to pass through a woman's breast milk, it is thought to be safe when taken while pregnant, however, all risks are not known. The health care provider should discuss the risks and benefits with pregnant patients.

Antibiotics should not be discontinued except on the advice of the health care provider or when the individual experiences severe adverse reactions or allergic reactions. Failure to complete the entire course of antibiotics may result in the incomplete resolution of the infection. When mild side effects occur as a result of taking erythromycin, the patient should notify his health care provider, who can recommended ways to relieve them or recommended an alternative antibiotic.

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