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Cortisporin Otic

Generic Name: hydrocortisone, neomycin, and polymyxin B otic (HYE droe KOR ti sone, NEE oh MYE sin, POL ee MIX in B)
Brand Name: Cortisporin Otic

Medically reviewed by on Dec 3, 2018 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is Cortisporin Otic?

Hydrocortisone is a steroid. It reduces the actions of chemicals in the body that cause inflammation.

Neomycin and polymyxin B are antibiotics that fight bacteria.

Cortisporin Otic (for the ears) is a combination medicine used to treat outer ear infections caused by bacteria.

This medicine is not for use in treating an inner ear infection.

Cortisporin Otic may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

You should not use Cortisporin Otic if you have a hole in your ear drum (ruptured ear drum), or an ear infection caused by chickenpox, or herpes infection.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to hydrocortisone, neomycin, or polymyxin B, or if you have:

  • a ruptured ear drum; or

  • an ear infection caused by chickenpox, or herpes infection (simplex or zoster).

To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Cortisporin Otic will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine.

Hydrocortisone can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not use this medicine in a child younger than 2 years old.

How should I use Cortisporin Otic?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Before using this medication, clean and dry your ear canal with sterile cotton.

Shake the ear drops well just before each use.

To use the ear drops:

  • Lie down or tilt your head with your ear facing upward. Open the ear canal by gently pulling your ear back, or pulling downward on the earlobe when giving this medicine to a child.

  • Hold the dropper upside down over your ear and drop the correct number of drops into the ear.

  • Stay lying down or with your head tilted for at least 5 minutes. You may use a small piece of cotton to plug the ear and keep the medicine from draining out.

  • Do not touch the dropper tip or place it directly in your ear. It may become contaminated. Wipe the tip with a clean tissue but do not wash with water or soap.

As an alternative to dropping the medicine into your ear, you may insert a small piece of cotton into the ear canal and then drop the medicine directly onto the cotton to soak it. Leave the cotton in your ear for at least 24 hours, and keep it moist by adding a few drops of the medicine to the cotton every 4 hours. Replace the cotton at least every 24 hours. Follow your doctor's instructions about the use of cotton with this medication.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while using Cortisporin Otic.

Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics.

Do not use Cortisporin Otic for longer than 10 days in a row unless your doctor tells you to. Long-term use of neomycin may cause damage to your hearing.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of Cortisporin Otic is not expected to be dangerous. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed the medication.

What should I avoid while using this medicine?

This medicine is for use only in the ears. Avoid getting the medicine in your eyes, mouth, and nose, or on your skin. Rinse with water if this medicine gets in or on these areas.

Cortisporin Otic side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe burning or other irritation after using the ear drops;

  • hearing loss; or

  • skin rash, redness, swelling, itching, dryness, scaling, or other irritation in or around the ear.

Common side effects may include:

  • mild itching after using the ear drops.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Cortisporin Otic?

It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on Cortisporin Otic used in the ears. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.