Chloramphenicol

Chloramphenicol is a medication used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections. This drug is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, meaning it is effective against a wide variety of bacteria. Chloramphenicol is typically used to treat infections of the respiratory tract, skin, and intestines. This drug may also be used to treat certain types of meningitis. Chloramphenicol is available in generic form. The brand name for this medication is Chloromycetin.

Chloramphenicol belongs to a class of drugs known as antibiotics. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Chloramphenicol is available in oral and injectable forms. The oral form is typically taken four times a day. The injectable form is given as an infusion into a vein.

Side Effects

Common side effects of chloramphenicol include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • loss of appetite
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • tiredness
  • hives
  • rash
  • itching
  • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • hoarseness
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • wheezing
  • cough
  • chest pain
  • fast heartbeat
  • fever
  • chills
  • sore throat
  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips
  • bloody or watery diarrhea
  • fever
  • joint pain
  • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
  • dark urine
  • clay-colored stools

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.

Warnings

Before taking chloramphenicol, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other antibiotics (such as amoxicillin, erythromycin, or sulfa drugs); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver disease, kidney disease, certain blood disorders (porphyria, anemia), cancer (leukemia, lymphoma), certain nervous system problems (mental/mood disorders such as depression, thoughts of suicide, seizures), certain stomach/intestinal problems (ulcer, blockage).

This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Limit your time in the sun. Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Tell your doctor right away if you get sunburned or have skin blisters/redness.

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially bone marrow suppression (e.g., blood disorders, low blood counts), and problems with the intestines (e.g., inflammation of the large intestine).

During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

Chloramphenicol passes into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Interactions

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

Some products that may interact with this drug include: "blood thinners" (such as warfarin), live bacterial vaccines.

This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including urine catecholamines), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.

Overdose

If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe drowsiness, seizures.

Notes

Do not share this medication with others. Lab and/or medical tests (such as complete blood count) may be performed while you use chloramphenicol. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.

Use this medication 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.

Chloramphenicol will not treat a viral infection such as the flu or a common cold.

Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, call your doctor. Do not use anti-diarrhea medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

If you are using the suspension form of this medication, shake the bottle well before each dose. Carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not

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