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Bacitracin Zinc / Polymyxin B Sulfate

Pronunciation: BAS-i-TRAY-sin zink/POL-ee-MIX-in SUL-fate
Class: Antibiotic

Trade Names

- Ointment, ophthalmic bacitracin zinc 500 units/g and polymyxin B sulfate 10,000 units/g

- Ointment, topical bacitracin zinc 500 units/g and polymyxin B sulfate 10,000 units/g

Optimyxin Ointment (Canada)



Interferes with bacterial cell wall synthesis by inhibiting regeneration of phospholipid receptors involved with peptidoglycan synthesis.

Polymyxin B

Interacts with phospholipid components of bacterial cell membrane, increasing cell wall permeability.

Indications and Usage


Treatment of superficial ocular infections involving the conjunctiva and/or cornea caused by susceptible organisms.


First aid to help prevent infections in minor cuts, scrapes, and burns.


None well documented.

Dosage and Administration

Superficial Eye Infections
Adults and Children

Ophthalmic Apply every 3 or 4 h for 7 to 10 days, depending on the severity of infection.

Prevention of Topical Infection
Adults and Children

Topical Apply a small amount on the affected area 1 to 3 times daily.

General Advice

  • For ophthalmic use only. Not for use on the skin.
  • Do not allow tip of tube to touch eye, eyelid, fingers, or any other surface.
  • If using other topical ophthalmic medications, instill drops first, wait at least 5 min, and instill ointment last.
  • For external use only. Not for use in the eyes.
  • Do not use over large areas of the body.
  • Clean the affected area before use.
  • Affected area may be covered with a bandage after application.



Store at 59° to 77°F. Keep tightly closed.


Store at 59° to 86°F.

Drug Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions


Allergic reaction, eye irritation, eye redness, itching, swelling.




Category C .

Polymyxin B

Category B .



Special Risk Patients

Advise patients with deep or puncture wounds, animal bites, or serious burns to contact their health care provider before using.


Prolonged use may result in bacterial or fungal overgrowth of nonsusceptible microorganisms.

Corneal healing

Corneal healing may be retarded.

Patient Information

  • Teach patient, family, or caregiver proper technique for instilling ointment: wash hands; do not allow tip of tube to touch eye, eyelid, fingers, or any other surface. Tilt head back and look up, pull lower eyelid down to form a pocket, and place prescribed amount of ointment in pocket. Look downward before closing eye. Do not rub eye.
  • Advise patient, family, or caregiver that if more than 1 topical ophthalmic drug is being used, to instill eye drops first, wait at least 5 min, and then instill ointment last.
  • Inform patient that temporary blurred vision and stinging of eye are most common adverse reactions and to contact a health care provider if adverse reactions occur and are bothersome.
  • Advise patient to contact an eye doctor if eye or eyelid inflammation is noted, or if eye symptoms do not improve or worsen.
  • Advise patient that the entire course of therapy must be completed to ensure max benefit, and to complete full course of therapy even if symptoms have resolved.
  • Instruct patient not to wear contact lenses during treatment.
  • Advise patients using the topical ointment to stop use and contact their health care provider if they need to use the ointment for longer than 7 days, if their condition persists or worsens, or if a rash or other allergic reaction develops.

Further information

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