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Bacitracin
Brand Name(s):
Baciguent ointment (dermatologic), Baciguent ophthalmic ointment, Bactine Triple Antibiotic ointment (dermatologic combining polymyxin, neomycin, and bacitracin), Polysporin ointment (dermatologic combining polymyxin and bacitracin), Polysporin ophthalmic ointment (combination of polymyxin and bacitracin)
Drug Class:
Antibiotic
Available OTC?: Yes
Available Generic?: Yes
Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Special Concerns
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions


Available In
Ophthalmic ointment and solution; dermatologic (skin) ointment

Why Prescribed
Dermatologic (skin) ointment is available over the counter for application to minor cuts and abrasions to prevent infection. Ophthalmic preparations are prescribed by a doctor for application to the eyelids or into the eye to treat early minor bacterial infections of the eyelids or conjunctiva (the Mucous membranes that line the inner surface of the eyelids).

How It Works
Hinders the ability of bacteria to manufacture cell walls, which causes cell death.

Range and Frequency
Dermatologic ointment: Apply to a small cut or abrasion 2 times daily. Ophthalmic preparations: Apply to the eye 1 or more times daily.

Onset of Effect
Unknown.

Duration of Action
Unknown.

Dietary Advice
No special restrictions.

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat and direct light.

Missed Dose
Apply it as soon as you remember and resume your regular dosage schedule.

Stopping the Drug
You can stop using the dermatologic ointment as soon as the cut or abrasion is sufficiently healed. The decision to stop using the ophthalmic preparation should be made by your doctor.

Prolonged Use
Ongoing observation is needed when the ointment is used, to detect any possible overgrowth of bacterial organisms that are not susceptible to the drug (known as superinfection).

Over 60
No special problems are expected.

Driving and Hazardous Work
Ophthalmic ointment may cloud vision; caution is advised.

Alcohol
No special precautions required.

Pregnancy
Before using bacitracin, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Breast Feeding
Bacitracin may pass into breast milk. Consult your doctor for specific advice.

Infants and Children
No special problems are expected.

Special Concerns
Bacitracin preparations should not be used if you have a history of sensitivity or allergy to bacitracin or any of the other components in the ointment. To use the eye drops or the ointment, first wash your hands. Tilt your head back. Gently apply pressure to the inside corner of the eyelid and with the index finger of the same hand, pull downward on the lower eyelid to make a space. Drop the medicine or put a short strip of ointment (about 1/3 inch long) into this space and close your eye. Apply gentle pressure for 1 or 2 minutes while keeping the eye closed without blinking. Then wash your hands again. Make sure the tip of the dropper or the applicator does not touch your eye, finger, or any other surface. If your symptoms do not improve in a few days or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

Overdose Symptoms
Severe eye pain, headache, rapid change in vision, sudden appearance of floating spots, acute redness of eye, pain on exposure to light, double vision, itching, burning, Inflammation.

What to Do
Call your doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison control center immediately.

Drug Interactions
No other drugs should be applied topically when using bacitracin unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. Bacitracin has not been shown to have any significant interactions with orally taken medications.

Food Interactions
No known food interactions.

Disease Interactions
Caution is advised when using bacitracin. Consult your doctor if superinfection (see Prolonged Use) with nonsusceptible bacteria occurs during therapy, so appropriate treatment


Date Published: 4/14/2005
Date Reviewed: 4/14/2005


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Serious

Dermatologic and ophthalmic ointment: Rare severe allergic reaction that may cause hives, breathing difficulty, or at the extreme, total closure of the airways with potentially fatal anaphylactic shock. Contact emergency medical services (EMS) immediately. Ophthalmic preparations only: Severe eye pain, headache, rapid change in vision, sudden appearance of floating spots, acute redness of eye, pain on exposure to light, double vision, itching, burning, inflammation. Call your doctor or ophthalmologist immediately.
Common

No common side effects have been reported.
Less Common

Dermatologic ointment: Irritation or skin allergy at the site of application, marked by redness, burning, itching, or the development of a rash.
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