chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin, Econochlor, Ocu-Chlor [These are discontinued brands in the US])

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Take the Cold & Flu Quiz

GENERIC NAME: chloramphenicol

BRAND NAME: Chloromycetin, Econochlor, Ocu-Chlor (These are discontinued brands in the US)

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Chloramphenicol is a man-made antibiotic. It slows growth of bacteria by preventing them from producing important proteins that they need to survive. Chloramphenicol is effective against S. typhi, H. influenzae, E. coli, Neisseria species, Staphylococcus and Streptococcus species, Rickettsia, and lymphogranuloma-psittacosis group of organisms. The FDA approved chloramphenicol in December 1950.

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Chloramphenicol is available in 0.5% sterile eye drops and 1% eye ointment. Eye drops are available in 2.5 ml and 15 ml drop-containers. Ointments are available in 3.5 g tubes.

Chloramphenicol sodium succinate is available as 1 gram/10 ml per vial powder for intravenous injection form.

STORAGE: Chloramphenicol eye drops are refrigerated until dispensed. Chloramphenicol ointments are stored between 46 F and 80 F. Chloramphenicol vials for IV reconstitution are stored between 20 C and 25 C (68 F and 77 F).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Chloramphenicol treats various infections caused by susceptible strains of S. yphi, H. influenzae, E. coli, Neisseria species, Staphylococcus and Streptococcusspecies, Rickettsia, lymphogranuloma-psittacosis group of organisms, and other bacteria that cause bacteremia (bacteria in blood) and meningitis.

DOSING:

Eye drop solution:

  • Mild disease: Instill 1 to 2 drops into the affected eye(s) up to 4 times a day
  • Severe disease: Instill 2 hours into the affected eye(s) every hour until improvement.
  • Eye ointment: Apply a small amount to the affected lower conjunctival sac(s) at bedtime as a supplement to the drops.

Intravenous (IV):

  • Adults: 50 to 100 mg/kg IV every 6 hours.
  • Children: 50 mg/kg IV every 6 hours; may increase to 100 mg/kg IV every 6 hours in severe illness.
  • Newborn infants: 25 mg/kg IV every 6 hours. Newborns over 2 weeks old may receive 50 mg/kg every 6 hours.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Chloramphenicol should not be used with lurasidone (Latuda) because chloramphenicol significantly lowers lurasidone's metabolism and increases its levels in the body.

Chloramphenicol should be used cautiously with red yeast rice, warfarin (Coumadin), and vilazodone (Viibryd) because chloramphenicol lowers their metabolism and increases those drug levels in the body.

PREGNANCY: There are no adequate studies done on chloramphenicol to determine safe and effective use in pregnant women.

NURSING MOTHERS: Chloramphenicol enters breast milk. Therefore, it should not be used in nursing mothers.

SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects of chloramphenicol are headache, mental confusion, fever, rash, diarrhea, and optic atrophy.

Chloramphenicol may cause Gray syndrome and serious, fatal blood dyscrasias. Gray syndrome occurs in pre-mature infants and neonates. It involves abdominal distention, pallid cyanosis, and vasomotor collapse leading to death. Blood dyscrasias are reductions in blood cells leading to aplastic anemia, thrombocytopenia, and granulocytopenia.

REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information.

Cold & Flu Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by First Databank, Inc. This copyrighted material has been downloaded from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, except as may be authorized by the applicable terms of use.

CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

RxList Logo

Need help identifying pills and medications?

Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors