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Benzamycin (Benzoyl Peroxide and Topical Erythromycin)

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Updated April 09, 2014

Benzamycin Basics:

Benzamycin is a topical treatment that gives you the benefits of two acne-fighting medications - 5% benzoyl peroxide and 3% erythromycin. Used to treat mild to moderate acne vulgaris, it is available with a prescription.

Benzoyl peroxide and topical antibiotics are both effective acne treatments on their own. When they're combined, you get a powerhouse acne treatment that can be more effective than each ingredient alone.

Benzamycin is also available in generic forms.

How Benzamycin Works:

Benzamycin gel is applied topically to all areas affected by acne. It works by killing the Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). Benzamycin seems to have the greatest effect on inflammatory acne breakouts, such as papules and pustules.

It may take awhile before you start noticing improvement of the skin, so don't give up on your medication too quickly. You may find your acne actually gets a bit worse before getting better. Try not to get discouraged if this happens and continue using your medication as directed. Plan on using Benzamycin for several weeks before seeing a noticeable improvement of your skin.

Common Usage Directions:

Benzamycin is applied to all affected areas twice daily, morning and night. First, cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser and let the skin dry completely. Carefully smooth a light layer of Benzamycin over the skin. The medication should dry clear. If you end up with a white film on the skin, you've used too much. Try a bit less next time.

While applying, stay away from the nose, lips and eyes. These areas are easily irritated by this medication.

Don't use more often than directed, and don't apply more medication than advised. Remember, overapplying won't speed up clearing.

Possible Side Effects:

Like most acne medications, the most common side effect of Benzamycin is dryness and peeling. Other side effects can include:

For a few people, Benzamycin can cause:

  • swelling of the skin or hives
  • stomach pain, cramps, diarrhea
  • skin or nail fungus

Your doctor will want to know about all side effects you experience, so let him/her know right away. This medication may cause side effects not listed here, so any unpleasant changes should be reported to your doctor.

Tips for Using Benzamycin:

  • Let your doctor know if you are using any other acne medication, including over-the-counter treatments or medicated skin care products. Your doctor may ask you to stop using these products while you're using Benzamycin.
  • Tell your doctor if you're pregnant, nursing or become pregnant while using Benzamycin.
  • Benzamycin will bleach hair, clothes, towels, wash clothes, pillowcases, etc. Wash your hands well after applying Benzamycin, and let your medication dry completely before coming in to contact with any fabric. Keep the medication away from the hairline too.
  • Use moisturizer. The daily use of a noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic moisturizer will help combat dryness and flaking, and help keep your skin comfortable.
  • Wear an oil-free sunscreen every day. Benzamycin can cause photosensitivity, so you'll be more sensitive to the sun's rays while using this medication. You'll need to protect your skin from the sun, even if you don't normally sunburn.

More About Benzamycin from Drugs A-Z

Sources:

"Clindamycin and Benzoyl Peroxide Topical." Medline Plus. 01 Oct 2003. National Institutes of Health. Accessed 24 Aug 2008.

DK Chalker, A Shalita, JG Smith Jr, RW Swann. "A double-blind study of the effectiveness of a 3% erythromycin and 5% benzoyl peroxide combination in the treatment of acne vulgaris." J Am Acad Dermatol 1983 Dec; 9(6):933-936.

Leyden JJ, Hickman JG, Jarratt MT, Stewart DM, Levy SF. "The efficacy and safety of a combination benzoyl peroxide/clindamycin topical gel compared with benzoyl peroxide alone and a benzoyl peroxide/erythromycin combination product." J Cutan Med Surg; 5:37-42.

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