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Paromomycin Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to paromomycin: oral capsule

As well as its needed effects, paromomycin may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

Minor Side Effects

Some paromomycin side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:

Incidence not known:
  • Abdominal or stomach cramps
  • diarrhea
  • nausea

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to paromomycin: oral capsule


Gastrointestinal side effects of paromomycin have commonly included nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort, especially with doses greater than 3 g per day. Malabsorption of xylose and sucrose has been reported. A case of pancreatitis in an AIDS patient has been attributed to paromomycin.[Ref]

A patient with AIDS developed pancreatitis after five days of therapy with paromomycin for cryptosporidiosis. Serum amylase declined progressively after paromomycin was discontinued, but became elevated after reinstitution of therapy.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have rarely included ototoxicity and sensorineural damage, usually in patients who also had hepatic disease. Rarely, patients may also experience headache or vertigo.[Ref]


Nephrotoxicity is a consideration with the use of any aminoglycoside, however, paromomycin is poorly absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. Accumulation of paromomycin may be problematic in patients with impaired renal function and patients treated with multiple or prolonged courses of therapy.[Ref]


Hepatic side effects have included transient elevated aspartate transaminase (greater than 3 times ULN) and alanine transaminase (greater than 3 times ULN) in patients receiving intramuscular paromomycin during a clinical study.[Ref]


Local side effects have included injection site pain and swelling in patients receiving intramuscular paromomycin during a clinical study.[Ref]


Other side effects have included pyrexia in patients receiving intramuscular paromomycin during a clinical study.[Ref]


1. Keusch GT, Troncale FJ, Buchanan RD "Malabsorption due to paromomycin." Arch Intern Med 125 (1970): 273-6

2. "Product Information. Humatin (paromomycin)." Parke-Davis, Morris Plains, NJ.

3. Tan WW, Chapnick EK, Abter EIM, Haddad S, Zimbalist EH, Lutwick LI "Paromomycin-associated pancreatitis HIV-related cryptosporidiosis." Ann Pharmacother 29 (1995): 22-4

4. Sundar S, Jha TK, Thakur CP, Sinha PK, Bhattacharya SK "Injectable paromomycin for Visceral leishmaniasis in India." N Engl J Med 356 (2007): 2571-81

5. Sullam PM, Slutkin G, Gottlieb AB, Mills J "Paromomycin therapy of endemic amebiasis in homosexual men." Sex Transm Dis 13 (1986): 151-5

6. Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Program "Drug-induced deafness." JAMA 224 (1973): 515-6

7. Berk DP, Chalmers T "Deafness complicating antibiotic therapy of hepatic encephalopathy." Ann Intern Med 73 (1970): 393-6

8. Kunin CM "Nephrotoxicity of antibiotics." JAMA 202 (1967): 204-8

It is possible that some side effects of paromomycin may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

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