Compare Azithromycin vs. Erygel

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.



Kills bacteria. Zithromax (Azithromycin) is good for treating many bacterial infections. It is also available as generic. Talk to your doctor if you've ever had liver disease, myasthenia gravis, or on medications to thin the blood, as the doctor may write an alternative.Topical treatment for acne. Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin) is a very common acne treatment you apply to the skin that may work better when combined with other topical medicines.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
Reviews for Zithromax (Azithromycin)
of people say Zithromax (Azithromycin) is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin)
28% vs. Zithromax (Azithromycin)
25% vs. Zithromax (Azithromycin)
9% vs. Zithromax (Azithromycin)
Side effects

The Azithromycin FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Azithromycin side effects »

The Erygel FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Erygel side effects »
How it works
Zithromax (Azithromycin) is an antibiotic. It kills bacteria by preventing them from reproducing and repairing themselves.Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin) is a topical antibiotic. It fights bacteria that cause acne in oil (sebaceous) glands, and contains alcohol which dries out acne-affected areas.
Type of medication
Prescription only
Acne agent
Prescription only
Available as
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Eye drops
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Topical solution
Used for (click to learn more)
Risk factors for serious side effects
      • History of liver disease
      • History of myasthenia gravis
      Detailed Zithromax (Azithromycin) risks & warnings »
        • Using other medicines or products that irritate the skin
        • Eczema
        • Extreme temperatures (hot or cold)
          Detailed Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin) risks & warnings »
          Pregnancy category
          No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
          • Can be taken with or without food.
          • Can take with or without food.
          No specific food-related info.
          Kidneys and liver
          No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
          No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
          No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
          No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
          Upsides and benefits
          • Available in generic.
          • Available in different forms: tablet, capsule, and suspension.
          • Used to treat many types of bacterial infections.
          • Less resistance seen in bacteria to this antibiotic. Your doctor may run tests to see which antibiotics will kill the bacteria causing your infection.
          • Can be taken with or without food.
          • Applying erythromycin to the skin reduces the amount of acne bacteria and "calms" the skin down (lowers the inflammatory response) in acne.
          • Available in a gel formulation which may be better if your skin is very oily.
          • Better choice if you're pregnant. erythromycin is categorized as pregnancy Category B (likely safe) as compared to similar topical medicines that are Category C (weigh risks vs benefits).
          Downsides and risks
          • Must space out antacids by at least 2 hours.
          • Has to be used with caution in people who've had liver disease.
          • Can't be used in people who've had myasthenia gravis.
          • Must be used with caution in people who are on medications to thin the blood (anticoagulants) because of increased risk of bleeding.
          • Can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.
          • There's a risk of irritation with anything you apply to your skin and this is no different. erythromycin, like other topical antibiotics, can cause skin irritation and may appear as redness, peeling, abnormal dryness or stinging, tightening, or burning sensations.
          • It's rare, that a serious allergic reaction would occur, but it's a good idea to test a small area of skin before using on any larger or sensitive areas
          • Studies show it works better when combined with other topical medicines to fight acne and reduce the risk of it losing its effectiveness over time.
          • Can cause severe inflammation of the large intestine (pseudomembranous colitis)
          • Stop using if you don't notice any improvement in your acne after 6-8 weeks. The most time you can use it is three months.
          Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
          • Take the medication exactly how your doctor tells you to.
          • Can cause diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
          • Space out any antacids with magnesium or aluminum by at least 2 hours.
          • Can take with or without food.
          • Very commonly used topical antibiotic to treat acne.
          • The only topical erythromycin in a gel formula.
          • Apply a thin film to clean and dry affected skin once or twice a day.
          • It may take 6-8 weeks before you see improvement in your acne.
          • Avoid getting into your eyes, nose or mouth.
          • Let your doctor know if you notice abdominal discomfort, pain or diarrhea after starting this medicine.
          • Using a moisturizer that doesn't block your pores (non-comedogenic) may help lessen common side effects of skin dryness and peeling.
          • Taking good care of your skin is an important part of treating acne. Lightly wash with warm water and non-soap-based or gentle cleanser.
          Learn more
          More about AzithromycinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
          More about ErygelSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert