Compare Azithromycin vs. Erygel

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

Zithromax
(azithromycin)

Akne-Mycin
(erythromycin)

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.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.45Azithromycin
Reviews for Azithromycin
74%
of people (All ages) say Azithromycin is worth it
59%
say it works well
11%
say it's a big hassle
909 reviews
Have you used Zithromax (azithromycin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Erygel
46%
+28% better vs. Azithromycin
34%
+25% better vs. Azithromycin
19%
+8% better vs. Azithromycin
Have you used Akne-Mycin (erythromycin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
AzithromycinErygel
  • Diarrhea 5%
  • Nausea 3%
  • Abdominal pain 3%
  • Vomiting 6%
  • Rash 2%
  • Vaginitis 2%
More Azithromycin side effects »
  • Burning 25%
More Erygel side effects »
How it works
AzithromycinErygel
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
AzithromycinErygel
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
AzithromycinErygel
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Eye drops
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Topical solution
Used for
AzithromycinErygel
Risk factors for serious side effects
AzithromycinErygel
  • 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

Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

Food
AzithromycinErygel
  • Can take with or without food.
  • Can be taken with or without food.
No food related info.
Kidneys and liver
AzithromycinErygel
  • There have been reports of liver damage that can require hospitalization or can cause death. These have been rare. Talk to your doctor if you notice pain in your abdomen, loss of appetite, yellowing of your skin or eyes, or dark colored urine.
No kidneys and liver related info.
Pain
AzithromycinErygel
  • Can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.
  • Let your doctor know if you notice abdominal discomfort, pain or diarrhea after starting this medicine.
Weight
AzithromycinErygel
No weight related info.
  • 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).
Upsides and benefits
AzithromycinErygel
  • 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
AzithromycinErygel
  • 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
AzithromycinErygel
  • 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
Have you used Zithromax (azithromycin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about ErygelSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Akne-Mycin (erythromycin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it