Precision in Medication Administration: How to Ensure the Right Erythromycin (Erythrocin) Dosage

Accurate medication administration is paramount in healthcare, ensuring that patients receive the appropriate treatment without complications. In this article, we will discuss how a nurse can navigate a situation where the pharmacy has dispensed erythromycin (Erythrocin) tablets with a dosage of 0.5 grams, while the patient has been prescribed 250 milligrams to treat a respiratory infection. The nurse’s responsibility is to administer the correct 250 mg dose of erythromycin.

Understanding Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections can be caused by various pathogens, including bacteria. Erythromycin is an antibiotic commonly used to treat respiratory infections. Ensuring the patient receives the correct dosage is vital for effective treatment and preventing antibiotic resistance.

Administering the Correct Dose of Erythromycin

To administer the correct dose of 250 mg of erythromycin when the available tablets are 0.5 grams each, the nurse should follow these steps:

Step 1: Calculate the Change in Dosage

Begin by calculating the change in dosage needed. In this case, the prescribed dose is 250 mg, and the available tablets are 0.5 grams (500 mg).

Change in dosage = New dosage – Current dosage

Change in dosage = 250 mg – 500 mg

Change in dosage = -250 mg

Step 2: Identify the Number of 0.5 g Tablets Required

To determine how many 0.5 g tablets are needed to achieve the change in dosage, divide the change in dosage by the strength of each tablet.

Tablets required = Change in dosage / Tablet strength

Tablets required = -250 mg / 500 mg/tablet

Tablets required = -0.5 tablet

The nurse should give the patient -0.5 tablet of erythromycin. However, since it’s not possible to administer a negative portion of a tablet, the nurse should not administer any tablets in this case.

Step 3: Contact the Prescriber

Since the patient needs a lower dosage than what is available in the tablet form, the nurse should promptly contact the prescribing healthcare provider to discuss the situation and request a prescription for the appropriate dosage of erythromycin.

Patient Safety and Monitoring

Patient safety is of utmost importance during medication administration. The nurse should ensure that the patient understands the need for the correct dosage and the importance of following the healthcare provider’s recommendations. Monitoring for any adverse reactions or side effects is crucial to provide the best possible care.

Ensuring Effective Treatment

In situations where medication dosage discrepancies occur, it’s vital to resolve the issue promptly to ensure the patient receives effective treatment. The nurse’s role extends beyond medication administration; it includes advocacy for the patient’s health and well-being. Clear communication with the healthcare provider and the pharmacy is essential to avoid any potential issues and provide the best care.


Ensuring that the right medication dosage is administered is a fundamental aspect of patient care, particularly in treating conditions like respiratory infections. In this case, when the prescribed dose is 250 mg and the available tablets are 0.5 grams, the nurse should contact the healthcare provider to discuss the situation and request the appropriate prescription. Patient safety, education, and monitoring are key components of the process, aimed at achieving the best possible treatment outcome while preventing complications or adverse reactions.


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