How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
This medication contains two ingredients: erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide. Both ingredients kill the bacteria that cause pimples and blackheads. This medication also removes excess oil and dries the skin. It is usually used to treat moderate acne. Improvement can sometimes be seen as early as 2 weeks. In other cases, it may take 6 to 10 weeks of treatment to see the best results.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than the ones listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are being given this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each g of topical gel contains erythromycin 3% (30 mg/g) and benzoyl peroxide 5% (50 mg/g). Nonmedicinal ingredients: alcohol, carbomer, docusate sodium, lemon fragrance, methyl salicylate, purified water, and sodium hydroxide.
How should I use this medication?
The recommended dose of benzoyl peroxide - erythromycin is 2 applications daily. Apply a thin layer once in the morning and once in evening, or as directed by the doctor.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.
In order to get the best results from this medication, you should:
- Thoroughly wash the affected areas on the skin using a nonmedicated soap. Rinse with warm water and gently pat dry.
- Apply the medication to the affected areas in a thin layer as directed by your doctor. Wash your hands after the application. Do not apply the medication more often than directed by your doctor.
- Be sure to use the medication for the full duration prescribed by your doctor.
Avoid contact with the eyes, nose, lips, mouth, and other mucous membranes. If contact does occur, rinse the area well with water. If soreness or redness develops, contact your doctor.
Do not over-apply the medication. This will not speed up treatment, but it may irritate your skin.
You should not use any leftover medication after 3 months from the time it was dispensed; you should get a new prescription instead.
This medication may bleach hair or coloured fabric.
It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, apply it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply double the amount to make up for a missed dose. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your physician or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication in your refrigerator but do not let it freeze. Keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not use this medication if you are allergic to erythromycin, benzoyl peroxide, or any ingredients of the medication.
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is used in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who uses this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people using this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- dryness or peeling of the skin (may occur after a few days)
- feeling of warmth, mild stinging, tenderness, or redness of the skin
- skin discoloration
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- painful irritation of the skin, including burning, blistering, crusting, itching, severe redness, or swelling
- skin rash
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Bleaching effect: Benzamycin may bleach hair or coloured fabrics.
Other acne products: The combination of benzoyl peroxide - erythromycin and other acne products may cause severe skin reactions. Do not use any other skin-applied acne preparations unless directed to do so by your doctor.
Pregnancy: The safe use of benzoyl peroxide - erythromycin during pregnancy has not been established. This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while using this medication, contact your doctor.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if benzoyl peroxide - erythromycin passes into breast milk after it is applied to the skin. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are using this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children less than 12 years of age.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between benzoyl peroxide - erythromycin and any of the following:
- erythromycin (taken by mouth)
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, decongestants, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.