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Erythromycin and Benzoyl Peroxide (Topical)

Brand Names

In the U.S.-

  • Benzamycin


  • Antiacne agent, topical


Erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide (eh-rith-roe-MYE-sin and BEN-zoe-ill per-OX-ide) combination is used to help control acne.

This medicine is applied to the skin. It may be used alone or with other medicines that are applied to the skin or taken by mouth for acne.

Erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide combination is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage form:

  • Topical gel (U.S.)

Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of using the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide combination, the following should be considered:

Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine, to any of the other erythromycins, or to benzoyl peroxide (e.g., PanOxyl). Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as preservatives or dyes.

Pregnancy- Studies on effects in pregnancy have not been done in either humans or animals. However, the benzoyl peroxide in this medicine may be absorbed into the body. Before using this medicine, make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or if you may become pregnant.

Breast-feeding- It is not known whether topical erythromycin or topical benzoyl peroxide passes into the breast milk. Erythromycin (e.g., E-Mycin), given by mouth or by injection, does pass into the breast milk. In addition, the benzoyl peroxide in this medicine may be absorbed into the mother's body. However, erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide combination has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.

Children- Studies on this medicine have been done only in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing use of this medicine in children up to 12 years of age with use in other age groups.

Older adults- Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of this medicine in the elderly with use in other age groups.

Other medicines- Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are using any other topical prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine that is to be applied to the same area of the skin.

Proper Use of This Medicine

Do not use this medicine on raw or irritated skin .

Before applying this medicine, thoroughly wash the affected area(s) with warm water and soap, rinse well, and gently pat dry. After washing or shaving, it is best to wait 30 minutes before applying the medicine. The alcohol in it may irritate freshly washed or shaved skin.

Avoid washing the acne-affected area(s) too often. This may dry your skin and make your acne worse. Washing with a mild, bland soap 2 or 3 times a day should be enough, unless you have oily skin. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.

To use:

  • Use this medicine only as directed . Do not use more of it and do not use it more often than your doctor ordered. To do so may cause your skin to become too dry or irritated.
  • After washing the affected area(s), you may apply this medicine with your fingertips. However, be sure to wash the medicine off your hands afterward.
  • Apply and rub in a thin film of medicine, using enough to cover the affected area(s) lightly. You should apply the medicine to the whole area usually affected by acne, not just to the pimples themselves .
  • Since this medicine contains alcohol, it may sting or burn. Therefore, do not get this medicine in or around your eyes, nose, or mouth, or on other mucous membranes . Spread the medicine away from these areas when applying. If this medicine does get in your eyes, wash them out immediately, but carefully, with large amounts of cool tap water. If your eyes still burn or are painful, check with your doctor.

Do not use this medicine after the expiration date on the label. The medicine may not work properly. Get a fresh supply from your pharmacist. Check with your pharmacist if you have any questions about this.

To help keep your acne under control, keep using this medicine for the full time of treatment . You may have to continue using this medicine every day for months or even longer in some cases.


The dose of erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide combination will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average dose of erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide combination. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so .

  • For gel dosage form:
    • For acne:
      • Adults and children 12 years of age and over-Apply to the affected area(s) of the skin two times a day, morning and evening, or as directed by your doctor.
      • Children up to 12 years of age-Dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed dose-

If you miss a dose of this medicine, apply it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.


To store this medicine:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Store in the refrigerator. Heat will cause this medicine to break down. However, keep the medicine from freezing. Follow the directions on the label.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

If your acne does not improve within 3 to 4 weeks, or if it becomes worse, check with your health care professional. However, treatment of acne may take up to 8 to 12 weeks before you see full improvement.

If your doctor has ordered another medicine to be applied to the skin along with this medicine, it is best to apply the second medicine at least 1 hour after you apply the first medicine. This may help keep your skin from becoming too irritated. Also, if the medicines are used too close together, they may not work properly.

Mild stinging or burning of the skin may be expected after this medicine is applied. These effects may last up to a few minutes or more. If irritation continues, check with your doctor. You may have to use the medicine less often. Follow your doctor's directions.

This medicine may also cause the skin to become unusually dry, even with normal use. If this occurs, check with your doctor.

This medicine may bleach hair or colored fabrics .

You may continue to use cosmetics (make-up) while you are using this medicine for acne. However, it is best to use only ``oil-free'' cosmetics. Also, it is best not to use cosmetics too heavily or too often. They may make your acne worse. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • Less common or rare
    • Burning, blistering, crusting, itching, severe redness, or swelling of the skin;  painful irritation of the skin;  skin rash 

  • Symptoms of topical overdose
    • Burning, itching, scaling, redness, or swelling of the skin (severe)  

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

  • Less common
    • Dryness or peeling of the skin;  feeling of warmth, mild stinging, or redness of the skin 

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT