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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.Treats bacterial infections. Vibramycin (Doxycycline) is good for treating many bacterial infections. It is also available as generic. However, it can make birth control pills less effective. You also have to protect yourself against sunburn.
How it works
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.Vibramycin (Doxycycline) is a tetracycline antibiotic. It stops bacteria by preventing them from reproducing and repairing themselves.
Type of medication
Acne agent
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Topical solution
  • Pill
  • Delayed release capsule
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
Reviews for Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin)
of people say Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin) is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Vibramycin (Doxycycline)
+4% vs. Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin)
Same vs. Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin)
3% vs. Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin)
Side effects

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

More about Erygel side effects »

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

More about Doxycycline side effects »
Risk factors for serious side effects
    • Using other medicines or products that irritate the skin
    • Eczema
    • Extreme temperatures (hot or cold)
      Detailed Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin) risks & warnings »
      • Age 8 years or younger
      • Using oral birth control pills
      • Long antibiotic treatment period
          • Women of childbearing age
          • Women of childbearing age
          • Overweight or obese
          • Taking isotretinoin (Accutane)
          Detailed Vibramycin (Doxycycline) risks & warnings »
          Pregnancy category
          BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

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

          See the FDA package insert
          DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

          Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

          See the FDA package insert
          No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
          No specific food-related info.
          • Has to be taken with plenty of water and food and you have to stay upright for 30 minutes afterwards to avoid stomach irritation.
          • Take with plenty of food and liquids.
          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
          • 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).
          • 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.
          Downsides and risks
          • 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.
          • Can't be used in pregnant women and children under 8 years old.
          • Makes your skin more sensitive to the sun.
          • Has to be taken with plenty of water and food and you have to stay upright for 30 minutes afterwards to avoid stomach irritation.
          • Can make birth control less effective.
          • Can cause diarrhea.
          Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
          • 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.
          • Take the medication exactly how your doctor tells you to.
          • If you're using birth control pills, this medication can make them less effective.
          • Wear sunblock if you have to go out into the sun since your skin can become more sensitive to sunburn.
          • Can cause diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
          • Space out any vitamins by at least two hours.
          • Take with plenty of food and liquids.
          • Don't take any medications with bismuth (Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate) while taking this medication.
          • Don't lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking this medication.
          Learn more
          More about ErygelSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
          More about DoxycyclineSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert