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Bacitracin/ polymyxin ointment

Generic Name: bacitracin/polymyxin (BAS-i-TRAY-sin/POL-ee-MIX-in)
Brand Name: Polycin B

Bacitracin/ polymyxin ointment is used for:

Treating eye infections caused by certain bacteria.

Bacitracin/polymyxin ointment is an antibiotic. It works by slowing the growth of, or killing, sensitive bacteria on the eye.

Do NOT use bacitracin/ polymyxin ointment if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in bacitracin/polymyxin ointment

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: 2014 Update - First Time Brand-to-Generic Switches

Before using bacitracin/ polymyxin ointment:

Some medical conditions may interact with bacitracin/polymyxin ointment. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a wound at the application site

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with bacitracin/polymyxin ointment. Because little, if any, of bacitracin/polymyxin ointment is absorbed into the blood, the risk of it interacting with another medicine is low.

Ask your health care provider if bacitracin/polymyxin ointment may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use bacitracin/ polymyxin ointment:

Use bacitracin/polymyxin ointment as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Bacitracin/polymyxin ointment should only be used around the eye or in the eye.
  • To use bacitracin/polymyxin ointment in the eye, first, wash your hands. Using your index finger, pull the lower eyelid away from your eye to form a pouch. Squeeze a thin strip of ointment into the pouch. After using bacitracin/polymyxin ointment, gently close your eyes for 1 to 2 minutes. Wash your hands to remove any medicine that may be on them. Wipe the applicator tip with a clean, dry tissue.
  • To prevent germs from contaminating your medicine, do not touch the applicator tip to any surface, including the eye. Keep the container tightly closed.
  • Do not wear contact lenses while you are using bacitracin/polymyxin ointment. Take care of your contact lenses as directed by the manufacturer. Check with your doctor before you use them.
  • To prevent reinfection, wash your hands before and after using bacitracin/polymyxin ointment.
  • To clear up your infection completely, use bacitracin/polymyxin ointment for the full course of treatment. Keep using it even if you feel better in a few days.
  • If you miss a dose of bacitracin/polymyxin ointment, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use bacitracin/polymyxin ointment.

Important safety information:

  • Bacitracin/polymyxin ointment may cause blurred vision. Use bacitracin/polymyxin ointment with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks if you cannot see clearly.
  • Bacitracin/polymyxin ointment only works against bacteria; it does not treat viral infections.
  • Be sure to use bacitracin/polymyxin ointment for the full course of treatment. If you do not, the medicine may not clear up your infection completely. The bacteria could also become less sensitive to this or other medicines. This could make the infection harder to treat in the future.
  • Long-term or repeated use of bacitracin/polymyxin ointment may cause a second infection. Tell your doctor if signs of a second infection occur. Your medicine may need to be changed to treat this.
  • If your symptoms do not get better within a few days or if they get worse, check with your doctor.
  • Do not use bacitracin/polymyxin ointment for future eye problems unless directed by your doctor.
  • Bacitracin/polymyxin ointment should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using bacitracin/polymyxin ointment while you are pregnant. It is not known if bacitracin/polymyxin ointment is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking bacitracin/polymyxin ointment.

Possible side effects of bacitracin/ polymyxin ointment:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Blurred vision; mild burning, irritation, or stinging.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); changes in vision; continued redness, burning, or itching; eye pain or swelling.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of bacitracin/polymyxin ointment:

Store bacitracin/polymyxin ointment at room temperature, between 59 and 77 degrees F (15 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Keep bacitracin/polymyxin ointment out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about bacitracin/polymyxin ointment, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Bacitracin/polymyxin ointment is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take bacitracin/polymyxin ointment or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about bacitracin/polymyxin ointment. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to bacitracin/polymyxin ointment. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using bacitracin/polymyxin ointment.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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