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Why is this medication prescribed?
Topical gentamicin is used in adults and children 1 year of age and older to treat skin infections caused by certain bacteria. Topical gentamicin is in a class of medications called antibiotics. It works by killing bacteria that cause infections.
How should this medicine be used?
Topical gentamicin comes as a cream and an ointment to apply to the skin. It is usually applied to the affected area 3 to 4 times a day. Use topical gentamicin at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use topical gentamicin exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Topical gentamicin is only for use on the skin. Be careful not to get the medication in your eyes.
To use topical gentamicin, apply a small amount of medication to cover the affected area of skin with a thin, even film and rub in gently. The area may be covered with a gauze dressing or gelatin packing if your doctor has told you to do so.
If you are using topical gentamicin to treat impetigo contagiosa (a bacterial skin infection common in young children), gently remove any crusts from the infected skin before applying the medication.
Your symptoms should begin to improve during the first few days of treatment with topical gentamicin. If your symptoms do not improve or get worse, call your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using topical gentamicin,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to gentamicin; other aminoglycoside antibiotics such as amikacin, kanamycin, neomycin (in Cortisporin, in Neosporin), paromomycin, streptomycin, and tobramycin (Tobrex, Tobi); any other medications; or any of the ingredients in gentamicin cream or ointment. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any medical condition.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using topical gentamicin, call your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply extra cream or ointment to make up for a missed dose.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Topical gentamicin cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- skin redness or itching
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using topical gentamicin and call your doctor immediately:
- warmth, swelling, oozing, or other signs of a new skin infection in the area where you applied the medication
Gentamicin topical may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish topical gentamicin, call your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.