Generic Name: polymyxin b (pol-ee-MIX-in B SUL-fate)
Available Dosage Forms:
- Powder for Solution
Therapeutic Class: Antibiotic
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jan 22, 2020.
Uses for polymyxin b
Polymyxin B injection is used to treat bacterial infections in many different parts of the body.
Polymyxin B belongs to the group of medicines known as antibiotics. It works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth. However, polymyxin b will not work for colds, flu, or other virus infections.
Polymyxin b is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of a doctor.
Before using polymyxin b
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 polymyxin b, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to polymyxin b 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.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of polymyxin B injection in children.
No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of polymyxin B injection in geriatric patients.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while 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. When you are receiving polymyxin b, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using polymyxin b with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
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 polymyxin b. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Kidney disease, severe—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
Proper use of polymyxin b
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you or your child polymyxin b. Polymyxin b is given as a shot into a muscle or a vein. It can also be given as a shot into your back.
Drink extra fluids so you will pass more urine while you or your child are using polymyxin b. This will keep your kidneys working well and help prevent kidney problems.
Precautions while using polymyxin b
It is important that your doctor check your or your child's progress during and after treatment. This is to make sure that the infection is cleared up completely, and to allow your doctor to check for any unwanted effects. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
If your or your child's symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
Polymyxin B injection may cause diarrhea, and in some cases it can be severe. It may occur 2 months or more after you stop using polymyxin b. Do not take any medicine to treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor. Diarrhea medicines may make the diarrhea worse or make it last longer. If you have any questions about this or if mild diarrhea continues or gets worse, check with your doctor.
Check with your doctor right away if you feel weak, irritable, drowsy, trouble seeing, numbness or tingling of the arms or legs, or other problems with muscle control.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Polymyxin b 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 or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Incidence not known
- numbness or tingling in hands or feet
- pain in the lower back or side
- shakiness and unsteady walk
- stiff neck
- unsteadiness, trembling, or other problems with muscle control or coordination
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:
Incidence not known
- Changes in skin color, pain, tenderness, or swelling at the injection site
- face is warm or hot to touch
- hives or welts
- redness of the skin
- skin rash
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.
Frequently asked questions
- How long does it take for neomycin, polymyxin b and hydrocortisone ear drops to work?
- Can I use expired neomycin and polymyxin b sulfates, dexamethasone ophthalmic?
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.