What Is Erythromycin/Benzoyl Peroxide Used For?
If you have acne, your healthcare provider may prescribe erythromycin/benzoyl peroxide. This medication works by combining two acne medications that help treat current pimples and prevent acne-causing bacteria from growing on the skin. Erythromycin/benzoyl peroxide is approved for use in adults and children as young as 12 years old. At this time, there are no "off-label" uses for this medicine.
Erythromycin/benzoyl peroxide (Benzamycin®) is a combination prescription medication approved to treat acne. It combines two antibiotics, erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide. Erythromycin/benzoyl peroxide comes as a gel that is applied to the skin.
Acne is a condition that affects the skin's oil glands and follicles. Follicles are the canals that connect the tiny holes or pores in your skin to the oil glands underneath the skin. Sometimes, the follicles get clogged with skin cells and sebum, an oily substance made by the oil glands. This mixture of oil and cells allows bacteria, known as Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), to grow inside the plugged follicles.
If the clogged follicle wall ruptures, white blood cells rush into the area, causing inflammation. As the white blood cells make their way to the skin's surface, a pimple forms.
The term "acne" simply refers to several pimples occurring together. The exact cause of acne is unknown, and is probably due to several things (see Causes of Acne for more information).
Acne is a common skin disease. Although it is not a serious health threat, severe acne can lead to disfiguring, permanent scarring. In addition, acne can be quite upsetting to people affected by it, leading to embarrassment, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
Erythromycin/benzoyl peroxide is one of many different prescription acne medications currently available. It is a topical acne treatment, which means it is applied to the skin. It may be used alone or in combination with oral acne treatments for mild-to-moderately severe acne. In addition, it is always a good idea to have a good acne skincare plan when caring for acne-prone skin (see Acne Skin Care for more information on important steps to take when caring for your skin).
Like many acne medications, erythromycin/benzoyl peroxide can make the skin appear worse before it gets better. You may notice redness, irritation, or an increased number of pimples when you first start using the gel. These initial effects should resolve as your skin condition improves. If your acne does not improve within six to eight weeks, talk to your healthcare provider.
(Click Acne to learn more about this condition, including causes and other possible treatments.)