Generic name: Chloramphenicol [ klor-am-FEN-i-kole ]
Drug class: Miscellaneous antibiotics
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Aug 19, 2022.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly blood problems have happened with chloramphenicol. This may cause more chance of getting an infection, bleeding problems, or slow healing. Aplastic anemia that happened with chloramphenicol has led to a certain kind of cancer (leukemia). Blood problems have happened after both short-term use and long-term use. Have your blood work checked while taking chloramphenicol. Talk with your doctor.
Uses of Chloramphenicol:
- It is used to treat bacterial infections.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Chloramphenicol?
- If you have an allergy to chloramphenicol or any other part of chloramphenicol.
- If you are allergic to chloramphenicol; any part of chloramphenicol; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you have any of these health problems: Bone marrow disease or low blood cell counts.
- If you are taking any drugs that can raise the chance of blood problems. There are many drugs that can do this. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with chloramphenicol.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take chloramphenicol with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Chloramphenicol?
For all patients taking chloramphenicol:
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take chloramphenicol. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Do not use longer than you have been told. A second infection may happen.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using chloramphenicol while you are pregnant.
- Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly reactions have happened in premature and newborn babies. This has happened in a baby born to a mother who got chloramphenicol during labor. It has also happened in a 3-month old. Most of the time, chloramphenicol was used within the first 48 hours of life. Signs first show up after 3 to 4 days of getting chloramphenicol. Call your child's doctor right away if your child has swelling of the stomach with or without throwing up, blue or gray skin color, or trouble breathing.
How is this medicine (Chloramphenicol) best taken?
Use chloramphenicol as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- It is given into a vein for a period of time.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Call your doctor to find out what to do.
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
- Signs of bleeding like throwing up or coughing up blood; vomit that looks like coffee grounds; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; abnormal vaginal bleeding; bruises without a cause or that get bigger; or bleeding you cannot stop.
- Very bad dizziness or passing out.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Feeling confused.
- Mood changes.
- Change in eyesight.
- A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
- Diarrhea is common with antibiotics. Rarely, a severe form called C diff–associated diarrhea (CDAD) may happen. Sometimes, this has led to a deadly bowel problem (colitis). CDAD may happen during or a few months after taking antibiotics. Call your doctor right away if you have stomach pain, cramps, or very loose, watery, or bloody stools. Check with your doctor before treating diarrhea.
What are some other side effects of Chloramphenicol?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Chloramphenicol?
- If you need to store chloramphenicol at home, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.
Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about chloramphenicol, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
More about chloramphenicol
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- Side effects
- Dosage information
- During pregnancy
- Drug class: miscellaneous antibiotics
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