Chloramphenicol ear drops


  • Chloramphenicol ear drops are used to treat bacterial ear infections.
  • Follow the instructions you have been given carefully.
  • The most commom side-effects are mild irritation, burning or a stinging sensation.
Type of medicine Anti-infective ear preparation
Used for Treatment of bacterial ear infections
Available as Ear drops

Chloramphenicol is a broad-spectrum antibiotic which kills the bacteria responsible for causing the ear infection. It is effective against infections caused by a wide variety of bacteria.

Before using chloramphenicol ear drops make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • If you have a perforated (burst) ear drum.
  • If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to chloramphenicol, any other medicine or preservative (for example, propylene glycol).
  • Before beginning treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet.
  • Follow the instructions you have been given carefully. You will be told how often to use the drops and for how long.
  • Try not to miss doses. If you do miss a dose, then apply the missed dose as soon as you remember.
  • If you find it more comfortable, you may warm the ear drops to body temperature by holding the container in your hand for a few minutes before use.

How to use chloramphenicol ear drops:

  • Wash your hands well before use.
  • Clean your ear with warm water and pat it dry.
  • Remove the cap.
  • Lie down or tilt your head a little so that the affected ear is facing upwards.
  • Gently pull your earlobe to straighten the ear canal.
  • Hold the container upside down near to the ear. Try not to touch the inside of your ear as you do this.
  • Release two to three drops into your ear.
  • Keep your ear facing upwards for a few minutes to allow the solution to come into contact with the affected area.
  • Repeat the process in your other ear if you have been asked to use the drops in both ears.
  • Replace the cap.
  • Wash your hands.
  • These ear drops are only intended for short-term use. This means they should not be used for longer than about a week.
  • If your symptoms do not improve within a few days or if they become worse, speak with your doctor.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Possible side-effects What can I do if I experience this
Mild irritation, burning or stinging sensation You may experience this when you first start using these drops. If it continues or is severe, speak with your doctor

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to these drops, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

  • Never use more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else has swallowed some of these drops, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
  • This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take/use with your other medicines.
  • Never keep out of date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
  • If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Last Checked:
05/07/2011
Document ID:
3665 (v22)
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