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Neomycin

By: Dr. Mark Papich

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Overview

  • Neomycin is an antibiotic. It inhibits bacteria by suppressing protein synthesis and growth. Through this mechanism, neomycin kills bacteria rapidly.
  • Neomycin belongs to a general class of drugs known as aminoglycosides. Other related drugs in this class include amikacin, tobramycin and kanamycin.
  • Neomycin is not absorbed if it is administered orally or applied topically. Therefore its action is confined to only a local effect.
  • Neomycin is effective against a wide range of bacteria in dogs and cats. It is most effective on bacteria in the intestinal tract and on the skin.
  • Neomycin is not used in dogs and cats for serious systemic infections such as pneumonia, blood stream infections or bone infections.
  • Neomycin is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans and animals.
  • Human formulations: Neo-Tabs® (Pharma-Tek) and various generics
  • Veterinary formulations: Biosol® (Upjohn) and various generics
  • Neomycin is available in a wide variety of topical ointments and creams that typically contain three antibiotics ("Triple Antibiotic Ointment"). The three drugs typically are neomycin, polymyxin B and bacitracin. Combinations of polymyxin B and neomycin also are common ointments or creams for topical use ("Neosporin").

    Uses of Neomycin

  • Neomycin is used to treat or prevent by bacterial infections of the intestine (which often cause diarrhea). Because this drug is not absorbed into the circulation, its effects are confined to the bacteria in the intestine.
  • Neomycin is used topically in creams and ointments, usually in combination with other antibiotics, to treat or prevent bacterial infections of wounds, as well as infections of the skin, eyes and ears.
  • Neomycin is sometimes used as oral treatment for certain diseases such as liver disease. The drug decreases the population of some types of bacteria in the intestine that may exacerbate the signs of liver disease.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, neomycin can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Neomycin should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Neomycin may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with neomycin. Such drugs include digoxin, vitamin K and certain other anitbiotics.
  • The most serious adverse effect from neomycin is kidney damage. This effect is related to duration of dose and the condition of the kidneys prior to treatment. (The longer the duration of treatment, the more likely a problem may develop.) Therefore, the status of the health of the kidneys must be assessed before neomycin is administered to animals.
  • Since neomycin is only administered orally (where it is not absorbed) the chance for serious toxicity is minimized. However, diarrhea can result from oral use of neomycin.
  • When neomycin is applied topically, such as on the eyes, skin or in the ears, it is poorly absorbed and adverse reactions, described above, may be minimized with this application.
  • Topical administration of neomycin to pets can result in oral ingestion if pets are allowed to lick the medication off their skin.
  • Do not mix neomycin with other solutions that are applied topically or administered orally.
  • Discontinue the use topically if there is evidence of a skin sensitivity to the compound (redness, irritation, itching).

    How Neomycin Is Supplied

  • Neomycin is available in a 500 mg tablet and 200 mg/ml oral liquid (neomycin sulfate).
  • Neomycin is also available in a wide variety of topical solutions for treatment of superficial eye infections, skin infections or ear solutions for infections in the ear. These topical preparations typically contain three antibiotics ("Triple Antibiotic Ointment"). The three drugs typically are neomycin, polymyxin B and bacitracin. Combinations of polymyxin B and neomycin also are common ointments or creams for topical use ("Neosporin").

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • The usual oral dose is 5 to 10 mg per pound (10 to 20 mg/kg) every 6 to 12 hours.
  • When applied topically, the dose and frequency depends on the type of condition being treated. It is usually applied two or three times daily.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse or prevent the development of resistance.




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