Allergies to erythromycin

Updated February 21, 2017

Several erythromycin products are on the market to treat a variety of bacterial infections. An antibiotic, it is available by prescription only. This drug comes in pill form, as a liquid and as an eye ointment and can cause several side effects, including allergic reactions.


Allergic reactions to erythromycin are considered uncommon.

Skin Conditions

Erythromycin may cause skin rashes or hives, which may cause itching. These may appear suddenly anytime during treatment.


In the most severe cases of allergic reaction, patients suffer from anaphylaxis. In these cases, patients may have difficulty breathing, or their face, tongue or throat may swell.


Erythromycin makes people more sensitive to sunlight and ultraviolet light. Avoid exposure to the sun and artificial UV lights while taking erythromycin to prevent sunburn and allergic skin reactions.

What to Do

If you have an allergic reaction to erythromycin, stop taking the drug immediately and call your doctor. Get emergency medical care if you experience any symptoms of anaphylaxis.

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About the Author

Lynn Anders has more than 15 years of professional experience working as a zookeeper, wildlife/environmental/conservation educator and in nonprofit pet rescue. Writing since 2007, her work has appeared on various websites, covering pet-related, environmental, financial and parenting topics. Anders has a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies and biology from California State University, Sacramento.