Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available



  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Topical solution
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Topical treatment for acne.

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Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Our bottom line

Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin) is a very common acne treatment you apply to the skin that may work better when combined with other topical medicines.


  • 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).
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  • 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.

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What to expect when you take Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin)

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • 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.
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Side effects for Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin)

From clinical trials of Erygel / Acne (Topical- 2%) 

  • BurningBurning25% for Erythromycin vs.0% for placebo

Manufacturers don’t say how common these side effects are

  • Dryness
  • Irritation of the eyes
  • Itching
  • Oiliness
  • Peeling
  • Redness
  • Tenderness of the skin
  • Urticarial reaction

Risks and Warnings for Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin)

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  • Rarely, Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin) can cause serious allergic reactions and life-threatening organ failure. Report any skin rash, fever, swelling, or trouble breathing to a doctor immediately. It may occur immediately longer, after continued use.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin)

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The FDA category for this medication is B. It is advised that you: Probably safe