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What Are the Most Common Uses for Erythromycin Ethylsuccinate?

Erythromycin is a substitute antibiotic for patients who are allergic to penicillin.
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  • Written By: Dulce Corazon
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2014
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Erythromycin ethylsuccinate is an antibiotic often used against several types of bacterial infections. It is commonly prescribed for patients with infection in the respiratory tract, skin, and reproductive organs. This drug is also frequently given as an alternative medication to prevent attacks of rheumatic fever (RF). It is also effective in treating patients with intestinal amoebiasis. This drug belongs in the macrolide antibiotic family that mostly targets the protein synthesis of bacteria important for their growth.

Examples of respiratory tract infections are listeriosis, atypical pneumonia, and whooping cough, which are commonly caused by exposure to Listeria monocytogenes, Mycoplasma pneumonia, and Bordetella pertussis, respectively. Many skin infections are usually caused by the entry of Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes in the skin. Reproductive organ infections are frequently due to sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and syphilis. Patients suffering from these various infections usually respond well to treatment with erythromycin ethylsuccinate.

Penicillin is often the drug given to patients with rheumatic fever, a condition caused by Group A Streptococcus infection and can frequently lead to heart damage. Some of these patients, however, develop adverse reactions to penicillin. In such cases, erythromycin ethylsuccinate can be given to these patients to prevent rheumatic fever attack. Symptoms of RF are fever, skin rashes, joint pains, and muscle weakness.

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Entamoeba histolytica is usually the parasite causing intestinal amoebiasis. Oral erythromycin ethylsuccinate tablets are often given to fight off this parasitic infection. Symptoms of intestinal amoebiasis include loose bowel movement with presence of mucus and blood streaks in the stools.

Doctors generally prescribe erythromycin ethylsuccinate once they established that the infection is caused by bacteria or parasites that can be stopped by this type of medicine. Adult patients often take this drug in tablet form. Erythromycin ethylsuccinate is also available in flavorful granules that can be made into a suspension by adding the right amount of water. This is mostly intended for children and the dosage is often calculated by using their weight and age.

Side effects patients may experience while using erythromycin ethylsuccinate include abdominal pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, and nausea. These symptoms may be lessened by taking the medicine with meals. When these symptoms continue, however, patients should inform their doctors right away. Other rare, yet serious, side effects of this drug are allergy, seizures, muscle weakness, loss of hearing, and jaundice. Jaundice is the yellowing of the skin and of the eyes.

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