Skip navigation

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

URL of this page:

Erythromycin and Benzoyl Peroxide Topical

pronounced as (er ith roe mye' sin) (ben' zoe ill per ox' ide)

Why is this medication prescribed?

The combination of erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide is used to treat acne. Erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide are in a class of medications called topical antibiotics. The combination of erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide works by killing the bacteria that cause acne.

How should this medicine be used?

The combination of erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide comes as a gel to apply to the skin. It is usually applied twice a day, in the morning and evening. To help you remember to use erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide gel, apply it at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide gel exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

It may take several weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of this medication. Continue to use this medication even if you do not see much improvement at first.

To use the gel, follow these steps:

  1. Wash the affected areas with a mild soapless cleanser and gently pat dry with a clean towel.
  2. If your medication comes in a large jar, remove a pea-sized dab with your finger and go on to step 5.
  3. If your medication comes in small pouches, use scissors or your fingers to tear off the top at the notched tab. Do not open the pouch with your teeth.
  4. Squeeze the contents of the pouch onto your palm. You will see a clear gel and a white gel. Use your fingertip to blend the gels with 5-10 circular motions.
  5. Use your fingertips to spread a thin layer of gel evenly over the affected area. Avoid getting the gel in your eyes, nose, mouth, or other body openings. If you do get the gel in your eyes, wash with warm water.
  6. Look in the mirror. If you see a white film on your skin, you have used too much medication.
  7. Dispose of the empty pouch and wash your hands.

Other uses for this medicine

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before using erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin), benzoyl peroxide (Benzac, Desquam, PanOxyl, Triaz, others), or any other medications.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention other topical medications for acne. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any medical conditions.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide, call your doctor.
  • plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight and to wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide may make your skin sensitive to sunlight.
  • ask your doctor or pharmacist to recommend a moisturizer to keep your skin soft during treatment.
  • you should know that Benzamycin Pak is flammable. Do not mix, apply, or store it near an open flame.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • dry skin
  • peeling, itching, stinging, burning, tingling, or redness of the skin
  • oily, tender, or discolored skin

Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately:

  • severe diarrhea
  • blood or mucus in the stool
  • severe stomach pain or cramps
  • swelling of the face or nose
  • eye or eyelid irritation and swelling
  • hives
  • changes in your skin or nails that may be signs of infection with a fungus

Erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store Benzamycin Gel in the refrigerator but do not freeze it. If you forget to refrigerate the gel for 1 day, you may refrigerate it when you remember and continue to use it. Store Benzamycin Pak at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Dispose of any unused Benzamycin Gel after 3 months.

Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach.

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor.

Avoid getting erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide gel on your hair or clothing. Erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide may bleach hair or colored fabric.

Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names of combination products

  • Benzamycin® (containing Benzoyl Peroxide, Erythromycin)
Last Revised - 03/15/2016