Prescription Drug Information: ERYTHROMYCIN

ERYTHROMYCIN — erythromycin tablet, film coated
STAT RX USA LLC

To reduce the development of drug-resistant bacteria and maintain the effectiveness of Erythromycin Base Filmtab tablets and other antibacterial drugs, Erythromycin Base Filmtab tablets would be used only to treat or prevent infections that are proven or strongly suspected to be caused by bacteria.

Erythromycin Base Filmtab (erythromycin tablets, USP) is an antibacterial product containing erythromycin, USP, in a unique, nonenteric film coating for oral administration. Erythromycin Base Filmtab tablets are available in two strengths containing either 250 mg or 500 mg of erythromycin base.

Erythromycin is produced by a strain of Saccharopolyspora erythraea (formerly Streptomyces erythraeus ) and belongs to the macrolide group of antibiotics. It is basic and readily forms salts with acids. Erythromycin is a white to off-white powder, slightly soluble in water, and soluble in alcohol, chloroform, and ether. Erythromycin is known chemically as (3R*, 4S*, 5S*, 6R*, 7R*, 9R*, 11R*, 12R*, 13S*, 14R*)-4-[(2,6-dideoxy-3-C-methyl-3-O-methyl-α-L-ribo -hexopyranosyl)oxy]-14-ethyl-7,12,13-trihydroxy-3,5,7,9,11,13-hexamethyl-6-[[3,4,6-trideoxy-3-(dimethylamino)-β-D-xylo -hexopyranosyl]oxy]oxacyclotetradecane-2,10-dione. The molecular formula is C37 H67 NO13 , and the molecular weight is 733.94. The structural formula is:

Structure Image
(click image for full-size original)

Inactive Ingredients

Colloidal silicon dioxide, croscarmellose sodium, crospovidone, D and C Red No. 30 Aluminum Lake, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hypromellose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose phthalate, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone, polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol, sodium citrate, sodium hydroxide, sorbic acid, sorbitan monooleate, talc, and titanium dioxide.

CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

Orally administered erythromycin base and its salts are readily absorbed in the microbiologically active form. Interindividual variations in the absorption of erythromycin are, however, observed, and some patients do not achieve optimal serum levels. Erythromycin is largely bound to plasma proteins. After absorption, erythromycin diffuses readily into most body fluids. In the absence of meningeal inflammation, low concentrations are normally achieved in the spinal fluid but the passage of the drug across the blood-brain barrier increases in meningitis. Erythromycin crosses the placental barrier, but fetal plasma levels are low. The drug is excreted in human milk. Erythromycin is not removed by peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis.

In the presence of normal hepatic function, erythromycin is concentrated in the liver and is excreted in the bile; the effect of hepatic dysfunction on biliary excretion of erythromycin is not known. After oral administration, less than 5% of the administered dose can be recovered in the active form in the urine.

Optimal blood levels are obtained when Erythromycin Base Filmtab tablets are given in the fasting state (at least ½ hour and preferably 2 hours before meals). Bioavailability data are available from Abbott Laboratories, Dept. 42W.

Microbiology

Erythromycin acts by inhibition of protein synthesis by binding 50 S ribosomal subunits of susceptible organisms. It does not affect nucleic acid synthesis. Antagonism has been demonstrated in vitro between erythromycin and clindamycin, lincomycin, and chloramphenicol.

Many strains of Haemophilus influenzae are resistant to erythromycin alone but are susceptible to erythromycin and sulfonamides used concomitantly.

Staphylococci resistant to erythromycin may emerge during a course of erythromycin therapy.

Erythromycin has been shown to be active against most strains of the following microorganisms, both in vitro and in clinical infections as described in the INDICATIONS AND USAGE section.

Corynebacterium diphtheriae

Corynebacterium minutissimum

Listeria monocytogenes

Staphylococcus aureus (resistant organisms may emerge during treatment)

Streptococcus pneumoniae

Streptococcus pyogenes


Bordetella pertussis

Legionella pneumophila

Neisseria gonorrhoeae


Chlamydia trachomatis

Entamoeba histolytica

Mycoplasma pneumoniae

Treponema pallidum

Ureaplasma urealyticum

The following in vitro data are available, but their clinical significance is unknown.

Erythromycin exhibits in vitro minimal inhibitory concentrations (MIC’s) of 0.5 µg/mL or less against most (≥ 90%) strains of the following microorganisms; however, the safety and effectiveness of erythromycin in treating clinical infections due to these microorganisms have not been established in adequate and well-controlled clinical trials.

Viridans group streptococci

Moraxella catarrhalis


Quantitative methods are used to determine antimicrobial minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC’s). These MIC’s provide estimates of the susceptibility of bacteria to antimicrobial compounds. The MIC’s should be determined using a standardized procedure. Standardized procedures are based on a dilution method1 (broth or agar) or equivalent with standardized inoculum concentrations and standardized concentrations of erythromycin powder. The MIC values should be interpreted according to the following criteria:

MIC (µg/mL) Interpretation
≤ 0.5Susceptible (S)
1-4Intermediate (I)
≥ 8Resistant (R)

A report of “Susceptible” indicates that the pathogen is likely to be inhibited if the antimicrobial compound in the blood reaches the concentrations usually achievable. A report of “Intermediate” indicates that the result should be considered equivocal, and, if the microorganism is not fully susceptible to alternative, clinically feasible drugs, the test should be repeated. This category implies possible clinical applicability in body sites where the drug is physiologically concentrated or in situations where high dosage of drug can be used. This category also provides a buffer zone which prevents small uncontrolled technical factors from causing major discrepancies in interpretation. A report of “Resistant” indicates that the pathogen is not likely to be inhibited if the antimicrobial compound in the blood reaches the concentrations usually achievable; other therapy should be selected.

Standardized susceptibility test procedures require the use of laboratory control microorganisms to control the technical aspects of the laboratory procedures. Standard erythromycin powder should provide the following MIC values:

Microorganism MIC (µg/mL)
S. aureus ATCC 292130.12-0.5
E. faecalis ATCC 292121-4

Quantitative methods that require measurement of zone diameters also provide reproducible estimates of the susceptibility of bacteria to antimicrobial compounds. One such standardized procedure2 requires the use of standardized inoculum concentrations. This procedure uses paper disks impregnated with 15-µg erythromycin to test the susceptibility of microorganisms to erythromycin.

Reports from the laboratory providing results of the standard single-disk susceptibility test with a 15-µg erythromycin disk should be interpreted according to the following criteria:

Zone Diameter (mm) Interpretation
≥ 23Susceptible (S)
14-22Intermediate (I)
≤ 13Resistant (R)

Interpretation should be as stated above for results using dilution techniques. Interpretation involves correlation of the diameter obtained in the disk test with the MIC for erythromycin.

As with standardized dilution techniques, diffusion methods require the use of laboratory control microorganisms that are used to control the technical aspects of the laboratory procedures. For the diffusion technique, the 15-µg erythromycin disk should provide the following zone diameters in these laboratory test quality control strains:

Microorganism Zone Diameter (mm)
S. aureus ATCC 2592322-30

ERYTHROMYCIN Indications and Usage

To reduce the development of drug-resistant bacteria and maintain the effectiveness of Erythromycin Base Filmtab tablets and other antibacterial drugs, Erythromycin Base Filmtab tablets 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 Base Filmtab tablets are indicated in the treatment of infections caused by susceptible strains of the designated microorganisms in the diseases listed below:

Upper respiratory tract infections of mild to moderate degree caused by Streptococcus pyogenes ; Streptococcus pneumoniae ; 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 pyogenes or Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Listeriosis caused by Listeria monocytogenes.

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).

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.

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: Erythrocin® Lactobionate-I.V. (erythromycin lactobionate for injection, USP) followed by erythromycin base orally, 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.

Erythromycins are indicated for 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.3

When tetracyclines are contraindicated or not tolerated, erythromycin is indicated for the treatment of nongonococcal urethritis caused by Ureaplasma urealyticum.3

Primary syphilis caused by Treponema pallidum. Erythromycin (oral forms only) is an alternative choice of treatment for primary syphilis in patients allergic to the penicillins. In treatment of primary syphilis, spinal fluid should be examined before treatment and as part of the follow-up after therapy.

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).3 Erythromycin is indicated for the treatment of penicillin-allergic patients. The therapeutic dose should be administered for ten days.

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).3

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