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Gentamicin (Topical)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 16, 2020.


(jen ta MYE sin)

Dosage Forms

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling.

Cream, External:

Generic: 0.1% (15 g, 30 g)

Ointment, External:

Generic: 0.1% (15 g, 30 g)

Pharmacologic Category

  • Antibiotic, Aminoglycoside
  • Antibiotic, Topical


Interferes with bacterial protein synthesis by binding to 30S ribosomal subunit resulting in a defective bacterial cell membrane


Systemic absorption is reported following topical application to burn patients (Sawchuk 1980).

Use: Labeled Indications

Dermatologic infections: Topical treatment of superficial dermatologic infections


Hypersensitivity to gentamicin or any component of the formulation

Dosing: Adult

Dermatologic infections: Topical: Apply 3 to 4 times daily to affected area

Dosing: Geriatric

Refer to adult dosing.

Dosing: Pediatric

Dermatologic infections: Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Topical: Cream, Ointment: Apply 3 to 4 times/day to affected area (Bradley 2017)


For external use only; not for ophthalmic use. Apply gently to affected area; may cover with gauze dressing.


Store at controlled room temperature of 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F).

Drug Interactions

There are no known significant interactions.

Test Interactions

Some penicillin derivatives may accelerate the degradation of aminoglycosides in vitro, leading to a potential underestimation of aminoglycoside serum concentration.

Adverse Reactions

The following adverse drug reactions and incidences are derived from product labeling unless otherwise specified.

Frequency not defined.

Dermatologic: Erythema, pruritus


Concerns related to adverse effects:

• Superinfection: Prolonged use may result in fungal or bacterial superinfection; discontinue if superinfection is noted.

• Sensitization: Topical use has been associated with local sensitization (redness, irritation); discontinue if sensitization is noted.

Other warnings/precautions:

• Long-term use: Not intended for long-term therapy.

Patient Education

What is this drug used for?

• It is used to treat skin infections.

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

• Skin irritation

• Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a limited summary of general information about the medicine’s uses from the patient education leaflet and is not intended to be comprehensive. This limited summary does NOT include all information available about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. For a more detailed summary of information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine, please speak with your healthcare provider and review the entire patient education leaflet.

Further information

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