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
- hair loss,
- electrolyte abnormalities,
- increased salivation,
- hearing impairment,
- breathing problems,
- joint pain,
- decrease white blood cell count,
- decrease platelets,
- allergic reactions, and
Bowel regularity means a bowel movement every day.
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
Which drugs or supplements interact with gentamicin?
Gentamicin may decrease the effectiveness of the BCG and
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
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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
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