Neomycin | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

neomycin, Oral tablet

Generic Name:

All Brands

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Highlights for neomycin

Oral tablet
1

Neomycin is used to prevent or treat intestinal bacterial infections. It’s also used to treat hepatic coma.

2

This drug is available as a tablet and solution you take by mouth.

3
Neomycin tablets are only available as a generic drug. The oral solution is only available as the brand-name drug Neo-Fradin.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA Warning

This drug has a black box warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning indicates drug effects that may be dangerous.

Toxicity warning. This drug can harm your kidneys, ears, and nervous system, including your brain. This can happen even if you take this drug at the dosage your doctor prescribes. Your risk of kidney damage is even greater if you already have kidney problems. Ear damage or hearing loss can start after you stop taking this drug. Your doctor will make sure you’re a good candidate for this drug before giving it to you.

Muscle and breathing problems warning. This drug can cause you to lose your muscle function. It can also cause breathing trouble or make you unable to breathe. Your risk for these issues may be higher if you also take other drugs that can cause these side effects.

Treatment with other aminoglycosides warning. Taking this drug with other aminoglycoside antibiotics can cause additive side effects. This can be dangerous. Wait at least one week between taking this drug and other aminoglycosides.

Seniors and dehydration or diuretics warning. Seniors and people who are dehydrated have a higher risk of side effects from this drug. You shouldn’t take this drug with certain diuretics (water pills). When diuretics are given intravenously (through a vein), they may cause neomycin to build up in your body to dangerous levels. Taking diuretics with neomycin can further increase your risk of ear issues.

Finish your full course of treatment

It’s important to finish the entire course of this drug as prescribed by your doctor. Don’t stop taking it or skip doses if you start to feel better. This could cause your infection to last longer. You could also develop resistance to the medication. This means if you get a bacterial infection in the future, you may not be able to treat it with neomycin.

Not for use during pregnancy

You shouldn’t use this drug during pregnancy. It can seriously harm or even end your pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking this drug, tell your doctor right away.

What is neomycin?

Neomycin is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet and oral solution. Neomycin tablets are only available as a generic drug. The oral solution is only available as the brand-name drug Neo-Fradin.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

This drug is used to prevent or treat bacterial infections in the intestines. It’s given before certain surgeries. It’s also used to treat hepatic coma, which is the loss of brain function due to a liver problem. Hepatic coma happens when your liver can’t remove ammonia from your blood.

How it works

Neomycin belongs to a class of drugs called aminoglycosides. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

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How it works

Neomycin belongs to a class of drugs called aminoglycosides. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

For people with an infection, neomycin works by killing bacteria and stopping it from growing in your body. This treats your infection or stops an infection from forming in the first place.

People with hepatic coma can’t remove ammonia from their blood. Neomycin works by killing bacteria in their gut, which releases ammonia.

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neomycin Side Effects

Oral tablet

More common side effects

Neomycin doesn’t cause drowsiness. The more common side effects of neomycin can include:

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • diarrhea

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Brain or nervous system damage. Symptoms can include:

    • numbness
    • skin tingling
    • muscle twitching
    • shaking
  • Ear damage and hearing loss

  • Kidney damage. Symptom can include:

    • confusion
    • fatigue
    • thirst
    • making less urine than normal
  • Muscle weakness

  • Breathing trouble

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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neomycin May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Neomycin can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Drugs you should not use with neomycin

Do not take these drugs with neomycin. When used with neomycin, they can cause dangerous effects in your body. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Oral or topical aminoglycosides
    • These include paromomycin, bacitracin, cisplatin, vancomycin, amphotericin B, polymyxin B, colistin, and viomycin. Taking these drugs with neomycin can cause additive side effects that harm your kidneys and muscles.
  • Diuretics such as ethacrynic acid or furosemide
    • These drugs and neomycin can cause ear or hearing problems. Taking them together can further increase your risk of hearing problems.

Interactions that increase your risk of side effects

Increased side effects from neomycin: Taking neomycin with certain medications raises your risk of side effects from neomycin. This is because the amount of neomycin in your body may be increased. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Drugs used to put people to sleep or to relax during surgery such as tubocurarine, succinylcholine, and decamethonium
    • Taking these drugs with neomycin increases your risk of muscle function loss and breathing problems.

Increased side effects from other drugs: Taking neomycin with certain medications raises your risk of side effects from these drugs. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Warfarin
    • Taking these drugs together can increase your risk of bleeding.

Interactions that can make your drugs less effective

When other drugs are less effective: When certain drugs are used with neomycin, they may not work as well. This is because the amount of these drugs in your body may be decreased. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Penicillin V, oral vitamin B-12, methotrexate, 5-flurouracil, and digoxin
    • Your doctor may monitor the levels of these drugs in your body if you take any of them with neomycin.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Drug warnings
intestinal problems
People with intestinal problems

If you have a blockage in your intestines or inflammatory or ulcerative gastrointestinal disease, this drug can increase your risk of intestinal problems. Ask your doctor if this drug is safe for you.

muscular disorder warning
People with muscular disorders

If you have myasthenia gravis or parkinsonism, this drug may make your muscle weakness worse. Ask your doctor if this drug is safe for you.

pregnancy warning
Pregnant women

Neomycin is a category D pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in humans has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. This drug should only be used during pregnancy in serious cases where it's needed to treat a dangerous condition in the mother.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Ask your doctor to tell you about the specific harm it may cause. This drug should only be used if the potential risk to the pregnancy is acceptable given the drug’s potential benefit.

breast feeding warning
Women who are breast-feeding

Neomycin may pass into breast milk and cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

senior warning
For seniors

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

childrens warning
For children

This medication has not been studied in children. It should not be used in people who are younger than 18 years unless it’s absolutely necessary.

call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

allergy warning
Allergies

Neomycin can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it or to other aminoglycosides. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take neomycin (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

The dosage information below is for the conditions that this drug is most often prescribed to treat. This list may not contain all conditions that your doctor can prescribe this drug for. If you have questions about your prescription, talk with your doctor.

What are you taking this medication for?

Intestinal bacterial infection

Generic: Neomycin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 500 mg

Brand: Neo-Fradin

Form: Oral solution
Strengths: 125 mg/5 mL
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

Oral tablet only: Take this drug as prescribed by your doctor before surgery. Your doctor may have you take it for 2-3 days before surgery or they may have you take it the day before surgery only.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It has not been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dosage or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Hepatic coma

Generic: Neomycin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 500 mg

Brand: Neo-Fradin

Form: Oral solution
Strengths: 125 mg/5 mL
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

Recommended dosage:Two to six 500-mg tablets (totaling 1,000–3,000 mg) four times per day (every 6 hours) for five to six days.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It has not been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dosage or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Neomycin comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

Your infection may not get better or it may get worse. If you’re taking this drug to prevent an infection, you may get the infection.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

It’s important to finish the entire course of this drug as prescribed by your doctor. Don’t stop taking this drug or skip doses if you start to feel better. Doing so could cause your infection to last longer. You could also develop resistance to the medication. This means that if you get a bacterial infection in the future, you may not be able to treat it with neomycin.

If you take too much

Your body doesn’t absorb much of this drug, so it’s unlikely that you can take too much. However, if you do, you may have the following symptoms of an overdose:

  • nervous system or brain damage, with symptoms such as:
    • numbness
    • skin tingling
    • muscle twitching
    • shaking
  • hearing loss
  • kidney damage, with symptoms such as:
    • confusion
    • fatigue
    • thirst
    • not making as much urine as normal

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. If you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

The symptoms of your infection will improve, or you won’t get the infection you’re trying to prevent.

Neomycin is used for short-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking this drug
with or without food
You can take this drug with or without food
timing considerations
Take this drug at the time(s) recommended by your doctor
can cut or crush
You can cut or crush the tablet
storage considerations
Store this drug carefully
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medication is refillable
A prescription for this medication is refillable
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travel considerations
Travel
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clinical monitoring
Clinical monitoring
See Details

Store this drug carefully

  • Store neomycin at room temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).
  • Keep this drug in a tight container. Store it away from light and children.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription to refill this medication. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor should monitor certain health issues while you take this drug. This can help make sure you stay safe during your treatment. These issues include:

  • Kidney function. Your doctor may do blood tests and urine tests to check how well your kidneys work. If your kidneys aren’t working well, your doctor may lower your dosage of this drug.
  • Hearing. Your doctor may check your hearing before, during, and after your treatment with this drug. If this drug affects your hearing, your doctor may lower your dosage or stop your treatment.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

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How Much Does neomycin Cost?

Oral tablet

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Lowest price for neomycin

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for neomycin on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on July 22, 2016

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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