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Chloramphenicol (klor-am-FEN-i-kole) is used in the treatment of infections caused by bacteria. It works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth.
Chloramphenicol is used to treat serious infections in different parts of the body. It is sometimes given with other antibiotics. However, chloramphenicol should not be used for colds, flu, other virus infections, sore throats or other minor infections, or to prevent infections.
Chloramphenicol should only be used for serious infections in which other medicines do not work. This medicine may cause some serious side effects, including blood problems and eye problems. Symptoms of the blood problems include pale skin, sore throat and fever, unusual bleeding or bruising, and unusual tiredness or weakness. You and your doctor should talk about the good this medicine will do as well as the risks of taking it .
Chloramphenicol is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage forms:
Before Using This Medicine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For chloramphenicol, the following should be considered:
Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to chloramphenicol. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.
Pregnancy- Chloramphenicol has not been shown to cause birth defects in humans. However, use is not recommended within a week or two of your delivery date. Chloramphenicol may cause gray skin color, low body temperature, bloated stomach, uneven breathing, drowsiness, pale skin, sore throat and fever, unusual bleeding or bruising, unusual tiredness or weakness, or other problems in the infant.
Breast-feeding- Chloramphenicol passes into the breast milk and has been shown to cause unwanted effects, such as pale skin, sore throat and fever, unusual bleeding or bruising, unusual tiredness or weakness, or other problems in nursing babies. It may be necessary for you to take another medicine or to stop breast-feeding during treatment. Be sure you have discussed the risks and benefits of the medicine with your doctor.
Children- Newborn infants are especially sensitive to the side effects of chloramphenicol because they cannot remove the medicine from their body as well as older children and adults.
Older adults- Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of chloramphenicol in the elderly with use in other age groups.
Other medicines- Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking chloramphenicol, it is especially important that your health care professional know if you are taking any of the following:
Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of chloramphenicol. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine
Chloramphenicol is best taken with a full glass (8 ounces) of water on an empty stomach (either 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals), unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
For patients taking the oral liquid form of this medicine:
To help clear up your infection completely, keep taking this medicine for the full time of treatment , even if you begin to feel better after a few days. Do not miss any doses .
The dose of chloramphenicol will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of chloramphenicol. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The number of capsules or teaspoonfuls of suspension that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are taking chloramphenicol .
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
To store this medicine:
Precautions While Using This Medicine
If your symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
It is very important that your doctor check you at regular visits for any blood problems that may be caused by this medicine.
Chloramphenicol may cause blood problems. These problems may result in a greater chance of infection, slow healing, and bleeding of the gums. Therefore, you should be careful when using regular toothbrushes, dental floss, and toothpicks. Dental work, whenever possible, should be done before you begin taking this medicine or delayed until your blood counts have returned to normal. Check with your medical doctor or dentist if you have any questions about proper oral hygiene (mouth care) during treatment.
For diabetic patients:
Side Effects of This Medicine
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some serious unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Stop taking this medicine and get emergency help immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Also, check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT