Medically reviewed on March 25, 2018.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antibacterial
Chemical Class: Aminoglycoside
Uses For gentamicin
Gentamicin belongs to the family of medicines called antibiotics. Gentamicin topical preparations are used to treat infections of the skin.
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.
gentamicin has been tested in children over 1 year of age and, in effective doses, has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems than it does in adults.
Many medicine 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.
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.
Proper Use of gentamicin
Before applying gentamicin, wash the affected area with soap and water, and dry thoroughly. Apply a small amount to the affected area and rub in gently.
After gentamicin is applied, the treated area may be covered with a gauze dressing if desired.
To help clear up your infection completely, keep using gentamicin for the full time of treatment, even though your symptoms may 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 topical dosage forms (cream or ointment):
- For bacterial infections:
- Adults and children 1 year of age and over—Apply to affected area(s) of the skin three or four times a day.
- For bacterial 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 skin problem does not improve within 1 week, or if it becomes 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:Less common
- Itching, redness, swelling, or other sign of irritation not present before use of gentamicin
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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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- Drug class: topical antibiotics