Belonging to a class of pharmaceutical compounds called broad-spectrum antibiotics, Erythromycin is very efficient and successful in the treatment of a number of different bacterial infections, including chlamydia and some other bacterial STIs. Originally marketed under the brand name Ilosone by Lilly pharmaceutical company in the 1950s, Erythromycin known to modern consumer is a generic tablet. It can also be obtained in the form of an oral suspension marketed as Erythroped by Amdipharm.

When it comes to chlamydia treatment, Erythromycin is prescribed as so-called second-line treatment, meaning it is issued if the primary treatment options (Doxycycline and Azithromycin) are, for one reason or another, not suitable for the patient.

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Chlamydia: A general background

Chlamydia is a bacterial sexually transmitted infection caused by the strain of bacteria known as chlamydia trachomatis. This condition is, without doubt, the most common STI in the United Kingdom with more than 200.000 new cases being reported to GUM and STI clinics every year. The prevalence of chlamydia is even more strongly emphasized when we take into account that the total number of new cases reported annually is roughly equal to number of reported cases of all other STDs combined.

While this condition can affect anyone who is sexually active, chlamydia is significantly more common in young people, aged 18 to 24 as compared to other age groups, and in women, as compared to men.

Chlamydia can be transmitted through unprotected sexual acts including vaginal, oral and anal sex as well as the practice of sharing sex toys. It can remain completely asymptomatic in a noticeable portion of those affected (50% of all infected men will not notice any symptoms, and the same is true for around 80% of women affected) and if the symptoms do eventually manifest, they can be mistaken for other STIs which is why STI testing is the single most important step in proper and timely treatment of this conditions.

Women who are infected with chlamydia might notice changes in the vaginal discharge (changes in consistency and colour), bleeding between periods, more intensive periods as well pain in the lower abdomen. On the other hand, symptoms commonly manifested in men include the presence of penile discharge and pain in the testicles. In addition to this, both men and women will experience discomfort, pain or burning sensation when urinating.

If left untreated, chlamydia can cause significant health issues and complications, including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. However, if the condition is discovered early, a timely treatment will prevent any further complications from occurring. So, if there is any suspicion that you might have been exposed to chlamydia, you should get tested as soon as possible, so you can commence treatment immediately if the test results come back positive.

How is chlamydia treated?

Chlamydia is a bacterial STI and as such it can be easily treated with antibiotic medicines. Erythromycin and Erythroped work by interfering with the cellular processes of the bacteria. More specifically, this type of antibiotic medicines will prevent the bacterial cells from synthesizing a vital protein that plays a crucial role in the multiplication of bacteria. The result of Erythromycin treatment is curbing the ability of bacteria to spread and multiply, consequentially making them an easy target for the body’s natural immune system.

What is the active ingredient of Erythromycin?

Generic macrolide antibiotic Erythromycin was named after the active ingredient this medicine was based on. Originally, it has been developed by the pharmaceutical company Lilly in the 1950s, but has been available under different names since them. As a broad-spectrum antibiotic, Erythromycin can be used in the treatment of a number of different material infections.

In chlamydia treatment, Erythromycin works by compromising the ability of the bacterial cells to replicate, thus halting the infection spread and making the bacteria an easy target for the immune system which will soon after eliminate the bacteria and clear the infection.

How to use Erythromycin?

As with any medicine, it is important to precisely follow the instruction provided by your doctor while adhering to the guidelines that you can find in the official patient information leaflet that is issued with every box of any medicine. By doing so, you will optimize the results of the treatment while simultaneously reducing the risk of unwanted adverse effects.

How to use Erythromycin tablets?

  • Usual daily dose is 500mg (two 250mg tablets, twice per day)
  • Total duration of treatment will be between 10 and 14 days
  • Take the tablets whole with water

How to use Erythromycin oral suspension?

  • Usual dose is 500mg daily (20ml or four 5ml spoons twice per day)
  • Total duration of the treatment will last between 10 and 14 days

Whether you are using tablets or oral suspension, it is important to:

  • Never exceed the prescribed dose
  • Never compensate for a missed dose by increasing your next dose
  • Continue the treatment as usual if you forget the dose

Are there any Erythromycin side effects?

Erythromycin is considered to be moderately safe antibiotic treatment, with just a small portion of those using it experiencing any side effects. However, it is still important to get familiar with the possible adverse effects, so you can notice them early on and notify your doctor about your reaction to medicine.

Erythromycin tablets side effects

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of hearing
  • Liver problems
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Kidney problems
  • Allergic reaction
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitations

Erythroped Amdipharm oral suspension side effects

  • Diarrhoea
  • General malaise
  • Stomach pain
  • Tinnitus
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Allergic reaction
  • Palpitations
  • Liver problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Decreased blood pressure

Erythromycin interactions

During consultations with your doctor be sure to disclose all the relevant information on other medicines you might be taking at the moment, whether they are prescription or over-the-counter medicines, supplements or remedies. There is a significant number of pharmaceutical compounds which are known to interact with erythromycin-based medicines in an adverse way so it is absolutely imperative to tell your doctor everything he needs to know in order to determine whether you are suitable for Erythromycin treatment.

Erythromycin contraindications

There are certain situations when using Erythromycin might not be recommended. This might be the case if you have a history of:

  • Liver problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Antibiotic-induced diarrhoea
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Porphyria

In addition to this, it is important to note that Erythromycin contains sorbitol so it is not recommended for people affected by fructose intolerance.

It is also important to avoid alcohol while taking this medicine, and refrain from drinking for additional 48 hours after the completion of the treatment.