Drug Information

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Brand Name
Common Name
tobramycin eye preparations
How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Tobramycin belongs to the class of medications called antibiotics. It is used to treat certain eye infections that are caused by bacteria. It works by helping to kill the bacteria that are causing the infection.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are being given this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

How should I use this medication?

Drops: The usual dose for adults and children older than 1 year is 1 or 2 drops into the affected eye(s) every 4 hours. For severe infections, the dose is 2 drops into the affected eye(s) every hour until improvement is noticed, followed by a reduction in dose as prescribed by the doctor. Avoid contaminating the dropper by making sure the dropper does not touch the eye, skin, or other surfaces.

If more than one type of eye drop is being applied, use the medications at least 5 to 10 minutes apart.

If you wear contact lenses, take them out before using the medication. You can insert your lenses 15 minutes or more after instilling the eye drops.

Ointment: The usual dose for adults and children older than 1 year is a 1.25 cm ribbon applied into the conjunctival sac (the inner surface of the eyelid) of the affected eye(s) 2 to 3 times daily. For severe infections, the dose is a 1.25 cm ribbon applied into the conjunctival sac every 3 to 4 hours until improvement is noticed, followed by a reduction in dose as prescribed by the doctor. Avoid contaminating the tube tip by making sure it does not touch the eye, skin, or other surfaces.

Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, apply it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light, and keep it out of the reach of children. Discard any medication remaining in the container 28 days after opening the container.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Eye drops

Each mL of sterile solution contains tobramycin 0.3% (3 mg). Nonmedicinal ingredients: benzalkonium chloride 0.01% as preservative, boric acid, purified water, sodium chloride, sodium hydroxide and/or sulfuric acid (to adjust pH), sodium sulfate, and tyloxapol.

Eye ointment

Each g of sterile, ophthalmic ointment contains tobramycin 3 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: chlorobutanol 0.5% as preservative, mineral oil, and petrolatum base.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not use tobramycin eye preparations if you:

  • are allergic to tobramycin or to any of the ingredients of the medication
  • are allergic to other medications of the same class of antibiotics (aminoglycosides; e.g., gentamicin, streptomycin)
What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • burning or stinging of the eyes

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • itching, redness, swelling, or other sign of allergic reaction or eye irritation not present before use of this medication

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • change in eyesight
  • eye pain
  • sensitivity to light
  • signs of an allergic reaction such as skin itching, rash, redness, swelling, or hives

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Allergy: Sensitivity to skin-applied aminoglycosides such as tobramycin may occur for some people. If a sensitivity or allergic reaction occurs, stop using the medication and call your doctor.

Blurred vision: Tobramycin eye preparations can cause temporarily blurred vision after applying the ointment or drops. This may affect your ability to drive or operate machinery. Avoid driving, operating machinery, or performing other potentially hazardous tasks until your vision has cleared or you have determined that this medication does not affect you in this way.

Overgrowth of organisms: Prolonged use of this medication may result in overgrowth of organisms, including fungi that aren't killed by the antibiotic. If your condition worsens or does not improve in the expected amount of time, call your doctor.

Pregnancy: Tobramycin eye preparations should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if tobramycin eye preparations pass into breast milk. If you are breast-feeding and using this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children under 1 year old.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

For a full list of interactions, use the Drug Interaction Checker available on the Drugs.com website.

If you are taking other medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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