We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Different Erythromycin Interactions?

By Maggie J. Hall
Updated Feb 11, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Erythromycin is an antibiotic that has been prescribed by physicians for decades, but the medication has the potential for interacting with certain beverages, disease processes, and other medications. Instructions advise taking the antibiotic one to two hours before meals, decreasing the likelihood of reduced absorption. Its action may exacerbate the symptoms of patients diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, or myasthenia gravis. Patients can experience erythromycin interactions when combining the antibiotic with a number of other medications, over one hundred of which might produce serious adverse symptoms.

Besides advising against taking the medication with food, patients are also advised that grapefruit juice can cause erythromycin interactions. Taking the antibiotic with grapefruit juice increases the amount of the drug in the blood and may increase the potential for side effects associated with the medication. Alcoholic beverages, on the other hand, delay the absorption rate and action of erythromycin. Physicians advise against taking it with alcoholic beverages.

Antibiotics have a tendency to destroy bacteria that is normally present in the body along with pathogenic organisms, especially microbes found in the digestive tract. Frequently reported side effects of erythromycin include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort secondary to the medication's effects on the gastrointestinal system. Patients with colitis, or other gastric inflammatory disease processes, may experience mild to severe erythromycin interactions that produce increased irritation, pain and possible bloody, loose stools.

The medication might also increase the weakness experienced by patients with myasthenia gravis, as erythromycin may further inhibit acetylcholine release at neuromuscular junctions. The liver eliminates erythromycin from the body, and this process naturally increases the organ's workload and increases hepatic enzyme activity. Individuals with decreased liver function may experience an increase in symptoms and have a greater possibility of developing hepatitis.

The body produces various enzymes, which aid in the metabolism of medications. Some drugs inhibit the activity of these enzymes, increasing the actions and adverse reactions of other medications because of increased concentration in the bloodstream. Erythromycin interactions may occur because of this enzyme inhibition process. Dilitiazem, verapamil, ketoconazole, and troleandomycin are some of the medications responsible for these types of interactions.

Risks in taking erythromycin include the possibility of developing serious ventricular cardiac dysrhythmias or sudden cardiac death when taking the antibiotic with antihypertensives that include dilitiazem and verapamil. These symptoms might also occur when combining erythromycin with non-sedating antihistamines. Some of the other medications causing erythromycin interactions include astemizole, cisapride, pimozide, and terfenadine. Using the antibiotic while taking lovastatin may cause a condition known as rhabdomylosis, which triggers the destruction of skeletal muscle tissue. Proteins from this deterioration process may cause renal malfunction upon reaching the kidneys.

Erythromycin effectively eradicates many strains of gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. It does so by interfering with the 50S ribosomal subunit of these microorganisms, which inhibits ribonucleic acid (RNA) reproduction and protein synthesis. Uses of erythromycin include the treatment of some abdominal parasites, respiratory infections, skin and structural infections, and pelvic inflammatory conditions caused by susceptible microbes.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.