Chemical Class: Aminoglycoside
Uses for gentamicin
Gentamicin belongs to the family of medicines called antibiotics. Gentamicin otic preparations are used to treat infections of the ear canal.
Gentamicin is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using gentamicin
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For gentamicin, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to gentamicin or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
There is no specific information comparing use of gentamicin otic solution in children up to 6 years of age with use in other age groups.
Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing use of gentamicin in the elderly with use in other age groups, gentamicin is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.
Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of gentamicin. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Any other ear infection or problem (including punctured or absent eardrum)—Use of gentamicin otic preparations in persons with this condition may lead to systemic absorption, and increase the chance of side effects.
Proper use of gentamicin
- Lie down or tilt the head so that 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 canal. Keep the ear facing up for about 1 or 2 minutes to allow the medicine to come into contact with the infection. A sterile cotton plug may be gently inserted into the ear opening to prevent the medicine from leaking out.
- To keep the medicine as germ-free as possible, do not touch the applicator tip to any surface (including the ear). Also, keep the container tightly closed.
To help clear up your infection completely, keep using gentamicin for the full time of treatment, even if your symptoms have disappeared. Do not miss any doses.
The dose of gentamicin will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of gentamicin. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For ear drops dosage form:
- For ear infections:
- Adults and children 6 years of age and older—Place three or four drops in the infected ear three times a day.
- Children younger than 6 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For ear infections:
If you miss a dose of gentamicin, apply it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Precautions while using gentamicin
If your symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
Gentamicin side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Itching, redness, swelling, or other sign of irritation not present before use of gentamicin
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Burning or stinging in the ear
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.