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Drugs

Side Effects
Serious

Bone marrow depression is a rare complication of chloramphenicol use. Other serious side effects include pale skin, sore throat and fever, unusual bleeding or bruising, unusual fatigue, itching, redness, swelling, skin rash, and skin irritation. Stop using the medication and call your doctor immediately.
Common

No common side effects are associated with otic chloramphenicol. Ophthalmic chloramphenicol may delay healing of the surface layer of the cornea.
Less Common

Stinging or burning sensation.
Chloramphenicol Ophthalmic and Otic


Drug Class:
Antibiotic

Available OTC?: No

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 solution and ointment, otic solution

Why Prescribed
To treat infections of the eye or of the ear canal.

How It Works
Chloramphenicol inhibits the spread of bacteria by interfering with protein synthesis in bacterial cells, preventing them from multiplying.

Range and Frequency
Ophthalmic solution: 1 drop every 1 to 4 hours. Ophthalmic ointment: Apply every 3 hours. Otic solution: 2 or 3 drops every 6 to 8 hours.

Onset of Effect
Unknown.

Duration of Action
Unknown.

Dietary Advice
This drug can be used without regard to diet.

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not allow the medicine to freeze. You may refrigerate the otic solution.

Missed Dose
Apply it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosage schedule. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug
Use this drug as prescribed for the full treatment period, even if you begin to feel better before the scheduled end of therapy.

Prolonged Use
You should see your doctor regularly for tests and examinations if you take this drug for a prolonged period.

Over 60
No special problems are expected.

Driving and Hazardous Work
Do not drive or engage in hazardous work until you determine how the drug affects your vision.

Alcohol
Avoid alcohol.

Pregnancy
This medication has not been shown to cause birth defects or other problems during pregnancy. Before you use chloramphenicol, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Breast Feeding
This medication has not been shown to cause problems in nursing babies.

Infants and Children
Do not use this drug on infants or children unless specifically directed by your physician.

Special Concerns
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 pressure for 1 or 2 minutes while keeping the eye closed without blinking. To use the ear drops, lie down or tilt your head so the infected ear faces up. Gently pull the earlobe up and back for adults (down and back for children) to straighten the ear canal. Drop the medicine into the ear. Keep the ear facing upward for 1 to 2 minutes after inserting the drops to allow the medicine to reach the infection. You may insert a cotton ball to prevent the medicine from leaking out. Make sure the applicator for eye or ear drops does not touch your eye, ear, finger, or any other surface.

Overdose Symptoms
No specific symptoms have been reported.

What to Do
An overdose of ophthalmic or otic chloramphenicol is unlikely to be life-threatening. If a large volume enters the eye, flush with water. If a large volume enters the ear or someone accidentally ingests the medication, call your physician, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison control center immediately.

Drug Interactions
Other drugs may interact with ophthalmic or otic chloramphenicol. Consult your doctor for specific advice if you are taking any other prescription or over-the-counter medication.

Food Interactions
No known food interactions.

Disease Interactions
Caution is advised when taking ophthalmic or otic chloramphenicol. Consult your doctor if you have a perforated eardrum (for otic solution) or any other medical condition.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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