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What is gentamicin, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Gentamicin is a broad spectrum aminoglycoside antibiotic that is most effective against aerobic gram-negative rods. Gentamicin is also used in combination with other antibiotics to treat infections caused by gram positive organisms such as Staphylococcus aureus and certain species of streptococci. Additionally, gentamicin is used in combination with a penicillin antibiotic to treat endocarditis (infection of the heart). Gentamicin kills bacteria (bactericidal) by inhibiting the synthesis of bacterial proteins. Gentamicin irreversibly binds to the 30S ribosomal subunits. This binding interferes with the formation of messenger RNA (mRNA) and the subsequent formation of nonfunctional proteins and the eventual death of susceptible bacteria. Gentamicin was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1966.
What brand names are available for gentamicin?
Gentamicin Injection, Garamycin
Is gentamicin available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for gentamicin?
What are the side effects of gentamicin?
Side effects associated with gentamicin use are:
- high or low blood pressure,
- kidney problems,
- liver problems,
- injection site reactions,
- hair loss,
- electrolyte abnormalities,
- increased salivation,
- visual problems,
- hearing impairment,
- breathing problems,
- joint pain,
- decrease white blood cell count,
- decrease platelets,
- allergic reactions, and
What is the dosage for gentamicin?
The dose of gentamicin is usually based on body weight. Total daily dose and duration of treatment depend on the condition or infection being treated. Dose adjustment is necessary for patients who have impaired kidney function. Doses are adjusted to target peak and trough levels.
- Usual dosage ranges for IM or IV:
- Conventional dosing: Administer 1 to 2.5 mg/kg/dose every 8-12 hours.
- Once daily dosing: Administer 4 to 7 mg/kg/day.
Which drugs or supplements interact with gentamicin?
Gentamicin may decrease the effectiveness of the BCG and typhoid vaccine.
Cephalosporins, amphotericin B (Amphocin), cisplatin (Platinol), colistimethate, cyclosporine (Sandimmune), loop diuretics, mannitol (Osmitrol), and vancomycin (Vancocin) may increase the risk of experiencing kidney related side effects of gentamicin.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) may decrease the kidney excretion or clearance of gentamicin. Examples of NSAIDs are:
Neuromuscular blocking agents may increase the risk of experiencing breathing problems by depressing the activity of respiratory muscles when given with gentamicin.
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Is gentamicin safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Gentamicin is excreted into human milk. Due to the lack of safety data, gentamicin should be used cautiously in nursing mothers. The benefits of breastfeeding, potential risk of infant drug exposure, and risk of inadequately or untreated infection should all be considered when deciding if gentamicin should be used in females who are breastfeeding.
What else should I know about gentamicin?
What preparations of gentamicin are available?
Gentamicin sulfate solution for injection: 10, 40 mg/ml
How should I keep gentamicin stored?
Gentamicin is usually given as an injection at the hospital, clinic, or doctor's office. Patient's using gentamicin solution at home should check with their healthcare provider on details regarding the proper storage of their medication.
Gentamicin injection (Garamycin) is an antibiotic prescribed to treat bacterial infections of the respiratory tract, bone, skin and soft tissue, stomach, blood, and heart. Side effects, drug interactions, patient safety, dosage, and storage information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
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Upper Respiratory Infection (URTI)
An upper respiratory infection is a contagious infection of the structures of the upper respiratory tract, which includes the sinuses, nasal passages, pharynx, and larynx. Common causes of an upper respiratory infection include bacteria and viruses such as rhinoviruses, group A streptococci, influenza, respiratory syncytial, whooping cough, diphtheria, and Epstein-Barr. Examples of symptoms of upper respiratory infection include sneezing, sore throat, cough, fever, and nasal congestion. Treatment of upper respiratory infections are based upon the cause. Generally, viral infections are treated symptomatically with over-the-counter (OTC) medication and home remedies.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the bladder, kidneys, ureters, or urethra. E. coli, a type of bacteria that lives in the bowel and near the anus, causes most UTIs. UTI symptoms include pain, abdominal pain, mild fever, urinary urgency and frequency. Treatment involves a course of antibiotics.
The bacteria Brucella causes brucellosis, an infectious zoonotic disease in humans. Symptoms and signs include fatigue, fever, sweating, and appetite loss. The preferred treatment is doxycycline and rifampin taken for six to eight weeks.
Aortic Valve Stenosis (Symptoms, Causes, Surgery)
Aortic valve stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the aortic valve of the heart. The causes of aortic stenosis are wear and tear of the valve in the elderly, congenital, or scarring or scarring of the aortic valve from rheumatic fever. Symptoms include angina, fainting, and shortness of breath. Treatment is dependant upon the severity of the condition.
Plague (Black Death)
Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis. Transmission to humans occurs via fleas that have bitten infected rodents. There are three forms of plague that infect humans: bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic. Antibiotics are the standard treatment for plague.
Endocarditis, a serious infection of one of the four heart valves is caused by growth of bacteria on one of the heart valves; leading to an infected massed called a "vegetation." The infection can be caused by having bacteria in the bloodstream after dental work, colonoscopy, or other similar procedures. Endocarditis symptoms include fever, fatigue, weakness, chills, aching muscles and joints, night sweats, edema in the legs, feet, or abdomen, malaise, shortness of breath and small skin lesions. Treatment for endocarditis is generally aggressive antibiotic treatment.
Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE)
Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infection is the most common type of infection acquired by patients while hospitalized. Patients at risk for VRE are those who are already ill, and hospitalized, including individuals with diabetes, elderly, ICU patients, kidney failure patients, or patients requiring catheters. Enterococci can survive for months in the digestive tract and female genital tract. Other risk factors for acquiring VRE include those how have been previously treated with vancomycin and combinations of other antibiotics. Treatment of VRE is generally with other antibiotics other than vancomycin. Prevention of VRE can be achieved by proper hand hygiene.
Treatment & Diagnosis
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