(redirected from topical agent)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.


pertaining to a particular area, such as a topical antiinfective agent applied to a certain area of the skin and affecting only the area to which it is applied.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


Apo-Erythro (CA), Apo-Erythro-EC, Diomycin (CA), Erybid (CA), Erymax (UK), Ery-Tab, Erythromid (CA), PCE (CA), Rommix (UK), Tiloryth (UK)

erythromycin, ethylsuccinate

Apo-Erythro-ES (CA), E.E.S., EryPed

erythromycin lactobionate


erythromycin stearate

Erythrocin Stearate

erythromycin (topical)

Akne-Mycin, A/T/S, E-Glades, E-Solve 2, Erycette, Eryderm, Erygel, Sans-Acne (CA), Stiemycin (UK)

Pharmacologic class: Macrolide

Therapeutic class: Anti-infective

Pregnancy risk category B


Binds with 50S subunit of susceptible bacterial ribosomes, suppressing protein synthesis in bacterial cells and causing cell death


erythromycin base

Capsules (delayed-release): 250 mg

Ointment (ophthalmic): 0.5%

Tablets: 250 mg, 500 mg

Tablets (delayed-release, enteric-coated): 250 mg, 333 mg, 500 mg

Tablets (particles in tablets): 333 mg, 500 mg

erythromycin ethylsuccinate

Oral suspension: 200 mg/5 ml, 400 mg/5 ml

Powder for suspension: 100 mg/2.5 ml, 200 mg/5 ml, 400 mg/5 ml Tablets: 400 mg

erythromycin lactobionate

Powder for injection: 500 mg, 1 g

erythromycin stearate

Tablets (film-coated): 250 mg, 500 mg

erythromycin (topical)

Gel: 2%

Ointment: 2%

Solution: 2%

Swabs: 2%

Indications and dosages

Pelvic inflammatory disease

Adults: 500 mg (base) I.V. q 6 hours for 3 days, then 250 mg (base, estolate, or stearate) or 400 mg (ethylsuccinate) q 6 hours for 7 days


Adults: 500 mg (base, estolate, or stearate) P.O. q.i.d. for 14 days

Most upper and lower respiratory tract infections; otitis media; skin infections; Legionnaires' disease

Adults: 250 mg P.O. q 6 hours, or 333 mg P.O. q 8 hours, or 500 mg P.O. q 12 hours (base, estolate, or stearate); or 400 mg P.O. q 6 hours or 800 mg P.O. q 12 hours (ethylsuccinate); or 250 to 500 mg I.V. (up to 1 g) q 6 hours (gluceptate or lactobionate)

Children: 30 to 50 mg/kg/day (base, estolate, ethylsuccinate, or lactobionate) I.V. or P.O., in divided doses q 6 hours when giving I.V. and q 6 to 8 hours when giving P.O. Maximum dosage is 2 g/day for base or estolate, 3.2 g/day for ethylsuccinate, and 4 g/day for lactobionate.

Intestinal amebiasis

Adults: 250 mg (base, estolate, or stearate) or 400 mg (ethylsuccinate) P.O. q 6 hours for 10 to 14 days

Children: 30 to 50 mg/kg/day (base, estolate, ethylsuccinate, or stearate) P.O. in divided doses over 10 to 14 days

Prophylaxis of ophthalmia neonatorum caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae or Chlamydia trachomatis

Neonates: 0.5- to 1-cm ribbon of ointment into each lower conjunctival sac once

Treatment of conjunctivitis of the newborn caused by susceptible organisms

Neonates: 50 mg/kg/day (ethylsuccinate) P.O. in four divided doses for at least 14 days


Children: 40 to 50 mg/kg/day (estolate preferred) P.O. in four divided doses for 14 days

Pneumonia of infancy

Infants: 50 mg/kg/day (estolate or ethylsuccinate) P.O. in four divided doses for at least 3 weeks


Adults and children older than age 12: 2% ointment, gel, or solution applied topically b.i.d.

Dosage adjustment

• Hepatic impairment

Off-label uses

• Chancroid


• Hypersensitivity to drug or tartrazine

• Concurrent use of astemizole, cisapride, pimozide, or terfenadine

• Hepatic impairment (with estolate)

• Pregnancy (with estolate)


Use cautiously in:

• myasthenia gravis

• hepatic disease.


Be aware that ventricular arrhythmias and sudden death may occur if drug is given concurrently with potent CYP3A inhibitors (such as clarithromycin, diltiazem, nitroimidazole antifungal agents, protease inhibitors, verapamil, and troleandomycin).

• Give erythromycin ethylsuccinate and delayed-release products without regard to meals, but avoid giving with grapefruit juice.

• Give erythromycin base or stearate 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals for optimal absorption.

• Follow label directions to reconstitute drug for I.V. use. For intermittent infusion, infuse each 250 mg in at least 100 ml of normal saline solution over 20 to 60 minutes. Continuous infusion may be given over 6 to 24 hours as directed.

Adverse reactions

CV: torsades de pointes, arrhythmias

EENT: ototoxicity

GI: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or cramps

Hepatic: hepatic dysfunction, hepatitis

Skin: rash

Other: increased appetite, aggravation of weakness in myasthenia gravis, allergic reactions, superinfection, phlebitis at I.V. site


Drug-drug. Alfentanil, alprazolam, bromocriptine, buspirone, carbamazepine, clozapine, cyclosporine, diazepam, disopyramide, ergot alkaloids, felodipine, methylprednisolone, midazolam, tacrolimus, theophylline, triazolam, vinblastine, warfarin: increased blood levels and risk of toxicity from these drugs

Clindamycin, lincomycin: antagonism of erythromycin's effects

CYP3A inhibitors: increased erythromycin blood level, with risk of ventricular arrhythmias and sudden death

Digoxin: increased digoxin blood level

HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors: increased risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis

Hormonal contraceptives: decreased contraceptive efficacy

Astemizole, cisapride, pimozide, sparfloxacin, terfenadine: increased risk of serious arrhythmias

Rifabutin, rifampin: decreased erythromycin effects, increased risk of adverse GI reactions

Theophylline: increased theophylline blood level, decreased erythromycin blood level

Drug-diagnostic tests. Alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, aspartate aminotransferase, bilirubin: increased levels

Urine catecholamines: false elevations

Drug-food. Grapefruit juice: increased erythromycin blood level

Patient monitoring

• Check temperature, and watch for signs and symptoms of superinfection.

• Monitor liver function tests. Watch for signs and symptoms of hepatotoxicity.

• Assess patient's hearing for signs of ototoxicity.

Patient teaching

• Instruct patient to take with 8 oz of water 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals, and to avoid grapefruit juice.

• If drug causes GI upset, encourage patient to take it with food.

• Tell patient not to swallow chewable tablets whole and not to chew or crush enteric-coated tablets.

Advise patient to immediately report irregular heart beats, unusual tiredness, yellowing of skin or eyes, or signs and symptoms of new infection.

• Tell patient he'll undergo periodic blood tests to monitor liver function.

• As appropriate, review all other significant and life-threatening adverse reactions and interactions, especially those related to the drugs, tests, and foods mentioned above.

McGraw-Hill Nurse's Drug Handbook, 7th Ed. Copyright © 2013 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


Relating to a definite place or locality; local.
[G. topikos, fr. topos, place]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


Medicine Relating to, applied to, or affecting a localized area of the body, especially of the skin: a topical anesthetic.
A topical anesthetic.

top′i·cal′i·ty (-kăl′ĭ-tē) n.
top′i·cal·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


adjective Local, focal, superficial; referring to a body surface
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Relating to a definite place or locality; local.
[G. topikos, fr. topos, place]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


Pertaining to something, usually medication, applied to a surface on or in the body, rather than taken internally or injected. Examples of topical applications are skin ointments or creams, eye and ear drops or ointments and vaginal pessaries.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005


A term used to describe medicine that has effects only in a specific area, not throughout the body, particularly medicine that is put directly on the skin.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Relating to a definite place or locality, anatomic or geographic; local.
[G. topikos, fr. topos, place]
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012

Patient discussion about topical

Q. Your topic-manager: Did you have today a little crisis like me? As some of you already know, I use at the moment and since 3 months no medications anymore, but I told you also, that I have at home my little pharmacy for "just in case". Two days ago I slept not at all during the whole night. There was an emergency case from USA - a member from another topic. The dear lady was in panic, it seemed so during the chat. So I called her and she was thankful 12h later. Today I had a little panic-attack too. I have an urgent letter to write and also a document to prepare. In fact I would be able to do both things in the same time and so my body starts to feel a stress. My heart feels like a very hot big potato, my head is warm too and I can't concentrate me for just one subject. What have I done today to fix that?

A. I forgot to tell you. I smoked today during the long moments in Zurich for the first time again 2 cigarettes after 3 years interruption. Now the package Marlboro is a member of my private pharmacy, then it helps me to become calm when I'm in panic. What helps me in such moments too, is some water with gaz. When I stopped smoking in 1996, I drunk always some water, when I had the desire to eat something - mostly something sweety. After 3 weeks it was for me not anymore necessary to drink water. Today I can smoke a cigarette or more and stop instantly afterwards during years. Today I used the cigarettes as medication in moments of panic I had. Perhaps for some of you it is a piece of chocolate, or an apple or some vinagre. You must check it out and learn what your body likes, how it reacts or what helps your behaviour and condition to go forward.

Your topic-manager

Q. I need help with a delicate topic. My neice was diagnoised with Cranial Transannular Where he forehead was once as normal, now it has a forming point in the center to make it look as though her skull is shrinking inward. Please anyone help with any information you may have

A. your question troubled me... from what i know of bone development - what you say can very much happen but i never heard of a case like that.and i looked a bit about maybe some information about it, but i'm pretty sure that the name you gave is not the disease that she has, it's just a description. Cranial means skull, Trans means cross over and Annular means ring. but if you'll find the right name, or if it is really the real name, here is a bit of places you might find information-

Q. My son has atopic dermatitis that is treated with topical cream. Is he in a greater risk for other diseases? My 1 year old son has atopic dermatitis. We treat him with topical cream and he is getting better. What kind of a diseases is this? Is he in a greater risk for other diseases because of his skin lesions?

A. Atopic dermatitis is an immunological disease. As a guy that has many allergies I can say that i believe the best treatment is not topical cream. You need to find what causes the allergy and to exclude it from your life. This way you prevent the disease not just treat its symptoms.

More discussions about topical
This content is provided by iMedix and is subject to iMedix Terms. The Questions and Answers are not endorsed or recommended and are made available by patients, not doctors.
References in periodicals archive ?
Calculated costs of the various topical agents compared with NS showing cost savings for NS compared with each agent Composite Composite cost Cost saving NS Composite cost Case cost NS mupirocin v.
Skin reactions during radiotherapy for breast cancer: the use and impact of topical agents and dressings.
Topical agents that release nitric oxide locally or target sebum by inhibiting acetyl coenzyme-A carboxylase, as well as a topical antiandrogen are in clinical trials.
ABSTRACT Currently approved options for the treatment of onychomycosis include systemic therapy (the antifungal agents fluconazole, itraconazole, and terbinafine), topical agents (ciclopirox, which has been available since 1996, efinaconazole, currently pending approval), and laser systems.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America recommends mupirocin as the best topical agent for the treatment and prevention of S aureus and S pyogenes infections, followed by bacitracin zinc and neomycin, although resistance is emerging).
Although it may be common practice, adding a topical agent to a phototherapy regimen did not significantly contribute to plaque clearance.
"We probably don't have a topical agent that is tremendously efficacious, especially in more severe rosacea."
Retapamulin's oral absorption is poor, and has therefore been developed as a topical agent. Allergy to the product is "almost nonexistent," said Dr.
revealed that 66% did not prescribe a topical agent for otorrhea in a patient whose eardrum was perforated.
The double-blind, multicenter, 8-week, phase II study included 212 patients randomized 2:2:1 to once-daily application of fixed-combination halobetasol propionate 0.01% and tazarotene 0.045% lotion, either topical agent as monotherapy, or vehicle.
"This agent is approved for once-a-day use, which I think is very important, because most patients will not use a topical agent twice a day on a long-term basis," he said.
About half of patients were on a combination of spironolactone, at least one topical agent, and an oral treatment; almost 90% of these patients improved with spironolactone.