What is gentamicin?

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Generic Name: Gentamicin Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Know the basics

What is gentamicin used for?

Gentamicin is used to prevent or treat a wide variety of bacterial infections. Gentamicin belongs to a class of drugs known as aminoglycoside antibiotics. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria.

How should I take gentamicin?

Gentamicin is given by injection into a vein or muscle as directed by your doctor, usually every 8 hours. The dosage is based on your medical condition, weight, and response to treatment. Laboratory tests (such as kidney function, levels of drug in the blood) may be performed to help find the best dose for your condition.

If you are giving gentamicin to yourself at home, learn all preparation and usage instructions from your health care professional. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely.

Antibiotics work best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, use this drug at evenly spaced intervals.

Continue to use gentamicin until the full prescribed amount is finished, even if symptoms disappear after a few days. Stopping gentamicin too early may allow bacteria to continue to grow, which may result in a return of the infection.

Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.

How do I store gentamicin?

Gentamicin is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store gentamicin in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of gentamicin that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush gentamicin down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Know the precautions & warnings

What should I know before using gentamicin?

Before administering gentamicin,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to amikacin (Amikin), gentamicin, kanamycin (Kantrex), neomycin, netilmicin (Netromycin), streptomycin, tobramycin (Nebcin), or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially diuretics (‘water pills’), cisplatin (Platinol), amphotericin (Amphotec, Fungizone), other antibiotics, and vitamins.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney disease, vertigo, hearing loss, ringing in the ears, myasthenia gravis, or Parkinson’s disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking gentamicin, call your doctor immediately. Gentamicin can harm the fetus.

Is it safe to take gentamicin during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication. This medication is pregnancy risk category D according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Know the side effects

What are the side effects of gentamicin?

 Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, or loss of appetite. Pain/irritation/redness at the injection site may infrequently occur. This medication can cause serious kidney problems and nerve damage, resulting in permanent hearing loss and balance problems. Tell your doctor if you notice ringing/roaring sounds in the ears, hearing loss, dizziness, or an unusual decrease in the amount of your urine.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Know the interactions

What drugs may interact with gentamicin?

Gentamicin may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Amifampridine, Ataluren.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Alcuronium, Atracurium, Cidofovir, Cisatracurium, Colistimethate Sodium, Decamethonium, Doxacurium, Ethacrynic Acid, Fazadinium, Furosemide, Gallamine, Hexafluorenium, Lysine, Metocurine, Mivacurium, Pancuronium, Pipecuronium, Rapacuronium, Rocuronium, Succinylcholine, Tacrolimus, Tubocurarine, Vancomycin, Vecuronium.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Indomethacin, Methoxyflurane, Polygeline.

Does food or alcohol interact with gentamicin?

Gentamicin may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with gentamicin?

Gentamicin may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:

  • Asthma;
  • Sulfite allergy, history of—This medicine contains sodium metabisulfite which may cause an allergic reaction in patients with these conditions.
  • Hypocalcemia (low calcium in the blood);
  • Hypokalemia (low potassium in the blood);
  • Hypomagnesemia (low magnesium in the blood)—Should be corrected before receiving this medicine. If these conditions are not corrected, this medicine may increase risk for more serious side effects.
  • Kidney disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of this medicine from the body.
  • Kidney disease, severe;
  • Muscle problems;
  • Myasthenia gravis (severe muscle weakness);
  • Nerve problems—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.

Understand the Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.

What is the dose of Gentamicin for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Bacteremia: 1.5 to 2 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 1 to 1.7 mg/kg intravenous or intramuscular every 8 hours or 5 to 7 mg/kg intravenous every 24 hours

Usual Adult Dose for Bacterial Endocarditis Prophylaxis: 1.5 mg/kg (maximum 120 mg) intramuscular or intravenous once within 30 minutes of starting the procedure

Usual Adult Dose for Bacterial Infection: 1.5 to 2 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 1 to 1.7 mg/kg intramuscular or intravenousevery 8 hours, or 5 to 7 mg/kg intravenous every 24 hours.

Usual Adult Dose for Brucellosis: 2 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 1.7 mg/kg intramuscular or intravenousevery 8 hours or 5 mg/kg intravenous every 24 hours.

Usual Adult Dose for Burns – External: 2 to 2.5 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 1.7 to 2 mg/kg intravenous every 8 hours.

Usual Adult Dose for Cystic Fibrosis: 5 to 10 mg/kg/day in 2 to 4 divided doses

Usual Adult Dose for Endometritis: 2 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 1.5 mg/kg IV or IM every 8 hours

Usual Adult Dose for Febrile Neutropenia: 2 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 1.7 mg/kg intravenous every 8 hours

Usual Adult Dose for Intraabdominal Infection: 2 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 1.7 mg/kg intravenous every 8 hours or 5 mg/kg intravenous every 24 hours

Usual Adult Dose for Meningiti: 2 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 1.7 mg/kg intramuscular or intravenousevery 8 hours

Usual Adult Dose for Osteomyelitis: 1.5 to 2 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 1 to 1.7 mg/kg intramuscular or intravenousevery 8 hours or 5 to 7 mg/kg intravenous every 24 hours

Usual Adult Dose for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: 2 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 1.5 mg/kg intramuscular or intravenousevery 8 hours or 5 mg/kg intravenous every 24 hours

Usual Adult Dose for Peritonitis: 2 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 1.7 mg/kg intravenous every 8 hours or 5 mg/kg intravenous every 24 hours

Usual Adult Dose for Plague: 2 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 1.7 mg/kg intramuscular or intravenousevery 8 hours or 5 mg/kg intravenous every 24 hours

Usual Adult Dose for Pneumonia: 2 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 1.7 mg/kg intramuscular or intravenousevery 8 hours or 5 mg/kg intravenous every 24 hours

Usual Adult Dose for Pyelonephritis: 2 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 1.7 mg/kg intravenous every 8 hours or 5 mg/kg intravenous every 24 hours

Usual Adult Dose for Skin or Soft Tissue Infection: 1.5 to 2 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 1 to 1.7 mg/kg intramuscular or intravenousevery 8 hours or 5 to 7 mg/kg intravenous every 24 hours

Usual Adult Dose for Surgical Prophylaxis: 1.5 to 2 mg/kg (maximum 120 mg) intramuscular or intravenousonce at induction of anesthesia

Usual Adult Dose for Tularemia: 1.5 to 2 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 1 to 1.7 mg/kg intramuscular or intravenous every 8 hours or 5 to 7 mg/kg intravenous every 24 hours

What is the dose of Gentamicin for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Bacterial Infection
0 to 4 weeks, birthweight <1200 g: 2.5 mg/kg intramuscular or intravenous every 18 to 24 hours
0 to 1 week, birthweight >=1200 g: 2.5 mg/kg intramuscular or intravenous every 12 hours
1 to 4 weeks, birthweight 1200 to 2000 g: 2.5 mg/kg intramuscular or intravenous every 8 to 12 hours
1 to 4 weeks, birthweight >=2000 g: 2.5 mg/kg intramuscular or intravenous every 8 hours
>1 month: 1 to 2.5 mg/kg intramuscular or intravenous every 8 hours

Usual Pediatric Dose for Bacterial Endocarditis Prophylaxis: 1.5 mg/kg intramuscular or intravenous once within 30 minutes of starting the procedure

Usual Pediatric Dose for Surgical Prophylaxis: 2 mg/kg IV once at induction of anesthesia

How is gentamicin available?

Gentamicinis available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

Gentamicin Sulfate in 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection in VIAFLEX Plus plastic container is available in the following sizes and concentrations.

Gentamicin 60 mg 50 mL unit:
Gentamicin 80 mg 50 mL unit:
100 mL unit:
Gentamicin 100 mg 50 mL unit:
100mL unit:
Gentamicin 120 mg 100mL unit:

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of gentamicin, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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