This medication is used to treat bacterial infections (such as blepharitis, conjunctivitis) of the eye and the skin around the eyes (such as eyelids). It is also used to prevent infection after eye injury or surgery. It belongs to a class of drugs known as aminoglycoside antibiotics. Gentamicin works by killing the bacteria.
This medication treats only bacterial eye infections. It will not work for other types of eye infections. Unnecessary use or misuse of any antibiotic can lead to its decreased effectiveness.
To apply eye ointment, wash your hands first. To avoid contamination, be careful not to touch the tip of the tube or let it touch your eye, eyelid, or any other surface. Apply to the eyes only. Do not swallow or inject.
To apply eye ointments, tilt your head back, look up, and gently pull down the lower eyelid to make a pouch. Place a half-inch (1.3 centimeters) strip of ointment into the pouch as directed by your doctor. Gently close the eye and roll the eyeball in all directions to spread the medication. Try not to blink and do not rub the eye. Repeat these steps for your other eye if so directed. Wipe the tip of the ointment tube with a clean tissue to remove extra medication before recapping it. Wait several minutes for your vision to clear before driving or operating machinery.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Your doctor may direct you to use this medication more often at first, then use it less frequently as the infection improves. Do not increase your dose or use it more often than directed. Your doctor may prescribe gentamicin drops for use during the day and gentamicin ointment at bedtime.
If you are using another kind of eye medication (such as drops or ointments), wait at least 5 minutes before applying other medications. Use eye drops before eye ointments to allow the drops to enter the eye.
Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same times each day. Continue using it for the full time prescribed. Stopping the medication too soon may allow the bacteria to continue to grow, which may result in a return of the infection.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
Eye stinging/burning/redness or temporary blurred vision may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Use of this medication for prolonged or repeated periods may result in other types of eye infections, including fungal infections. Stop using this medication and contact your doctor if you notice new or worsening eye symptoms (such as pain, swelling, thick discharge or pus).
Rarely, gentamicin products used in the eye may be absorbed and may cause serious side effects. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but serious side effects occur: easy bruising/bleeding, mental/mood changes (such as hallucinations).
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
In the US -
Before using gentamicin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other aminoglycoside antibiotics (such as tobramycin); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: contact lens use.
After you apply this drug, your vision may become temporarily blurred. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires clear vision until you are sure you can perform such activities safely.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
The effects of some drugs can change if you take other drugs or herbal products at the same time. This can increase your risk for serious side effects or may cause your medications not to work correctly. These drug interactions are possible, but do not always occur. Your doctor or pharmacist can often prevent or manage interactions by changing how you use your medications or by close monitoring.
To help your doctor and pharmacist give you the best care, be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) before starting treatment with this product. While using this product, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any other medicines you are using without your doctor's approval.
Keep a list of all the products you use. Share the list with your doctor and pharmacist to reduce your risk for serious medication problems.
This medicine may be harmful if swallowed. If swallowing or overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
This medication has been prescribed for your current condition only. Do not use it later for another infection. unless your doctor directs you to do so. A different medication may be necessary in that case.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Brief storage between 59 - 86 degrees F (15 - 30 degrees C) is permitted. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Information last revised March 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
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