Bacteria can either be good or bad. Harmful or bad bacteria can cause infections if left unchecked. Antibiotics are drugs taken to inhibit the growth and multiplication of disease-causing germs. These drugs can be administered through the oral route, as an injection or as a topical application. Oral forms are typically available as capsules or pills while intravenous forms are available as injections. On the other hand, topical applications are made in the forms of sprays, skin creams or ointments; in case of eye infections, antibiotics are available as eye drops or ointments. Chloramphenicol is a member of the antibiotic genre of meds. But, is it a strong antibiotic med? It is essential to know about how strong it is prior to commencing your dosage plan.

Antibiotics are commonly prescribed drugs to treat infections caused by bacteria. These drugs do not work when taken to treat viral infections or other microbial attacks. So, never take an antibiotic if you are down with a runny nose, a spell of common cold or soreness of throat. Also, never take an antibacterial drug when there is no need for one. Such practice may make the microbe to develop resistance. Also, if you have a friend or a family member who has developed signs of a likely infection – such as yours, never share your drugs with them. You need to remember that the same drug may not work for another person – despite having the same symptoms. It is important to follow the recommendations of your treating doctor and strictly adhere to all instructions.

Chloramphenicol and its antibacterial capabilities

Among the broad range of antibacterial drugs, chloramphenicol is a widely prescribed drug. It owes its popularity to abilities to treat a large spectrum of bacterial infections. This drug is effective against a wide range of bacteria – i.e., both gram positive as well as gram negative forms of the microbe. However, if you have prior / known allergies to antibiotics like chloramphenicol, you must share needful details with the treating doctor. Also, if you are taking this drug for a longer than recommended duration, it is likely to trigger another round of infections.

In essence, it is an artificially made antibacterial drug. It helps slowdown the progression of microbial growth. How? The active ingredients of chloramphenicol control the making of proteins required for bacterial microbes to grow and sustain. Chloramphenicol is found to be very effective for the treatment of infections caused by the microbes of the Streptococcus family. This drug is also used for the treatment of eye infections – chiefly, those caused by bacteria. The drug is available as a 1% ointment and also as 0.5% drops, for treating ocular infections.

Dosages of chloramphenicol

The medication plan varies based on multiple factors. Key among them include your age, medical condition as well as how well your body accepts the first few doses of this antibacterial med. In case of an intravenous use, this drug is administered in dosage forms of 100 mg per-kg IV, while for children the standard dose is 50 mg per-kg IV. Intravenous dosages are often administered by providing ample time interval in between doses. The usual frequency is once every 6 or 8 hours, depending on the underlying infection.

In case of eye infections, the drops are used sparsely. Your eye doctor may recommend using one or two droplets of this medicine. These drops are used only on the infected eye; the usual frequency is once every four or six hours. However, in case of acute infectious conditions – the frequency is enhanced to once per 90 minutes. If you are prescribed an ointment to treat eye infections, a very small quantity is applied. The best time to apply the ointment is before bedtimes.

Safe use of this antibacterial drug

Your medical team is likely to prescribe this antibacterial med only for a short span of time. A long term use is likely to cause allergic conditions such as rashes on skin, inflammation of oral organs such as lip or tongue as well as swelling of facial parts like nose, cheeks, etc. It is important to differentiate temporary discomforts from serious side effects; short term discomforts include a burning sensation in your eyes and / or blurring of vision. In general, eye drops made from chloramphenicol may not trigger acute discomforts.

If you are in doubt about the overall safety of this drug, consult with your treating physician as quickly as possible. Foremost of all, it is essential to know that your medical team has administered this antibacterial drug as the merits are remarkably more than the risks of adverse reactions and side effects. However, in some very remote instances, some people experienced very serious side effects; these include episodes of dizziness or drowsiness, respiratory problems including gasping, wheezing or shortness of breathing cycles.

Other needful precautions prior to using chloramphenicol

It is highly recommended to wash / wipe your hands prior to using this drug – especially, the eye ointment or drops. This IV form of this med is always administered under the clinical guidance of a qualified doctor. Eye drops however can be used at home; the lower eye lid is made into a pouch / bag and the drops are allowed to settle in. As this med can be very dangerous to infants – both premature ones and newly born babies – mothers who are breastfeeding must never use this drug. Women who consumed this antibacterial med during times of labor may give birth to babies with a few conditions like respiratory problems as well as development of a bluish color on skin.

For the above reasons, US-based drug clearing agency – the food and drug administration (FDA) has grouped this drug under category C. This denotes that safety of this drug on pregnant women is evidenced only to a limited extent. Hence, pregnant women must stay extremely cautious before starting to use this antibacterial med. On the other hand, women who are likely to become pregnant must use suitable birth control approaches to avoid accidental pregnancies. Moreover, women who are breastfeeding or nursing their newly born infant must know that the active ingredients of chloramphenicol may enter into mother’s milk. Babies who feed on such milk may develop undesired side effects such as shortness of breathing cycles, sleeplessness, feeding problems, etc.

Despite taking the aforesaid precautions, you may witness some side effects – depending on your medical condition. In such instances, you are advised to seek immediate medical help. Residents of US can either call 24-hour helpline of FDA or reach out to 911 for clinical attention on an emergency mode. Those who are Canadian residents are advised to reach out to a poison control center or establish contact with Health Canada.

In sum, chloramphenicol is a man-made antibacterial drug. It slows the progression and growth of microbes by limiting availability of proteins for growth and sustenance of bacteria. Chloramphenicol is effective against bacterium of the Streptococcus genre; it is used for the treatment of various bacterial eye infections. The most commonly administered is its 1% ointment form as well as the 0.5% eye drops. In order to know more of the treatment capabilities of chloramphenicol, you are advised to talk to your treating physician or a pharmacist.

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