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Brand & Generic Names


Basic Information

  • Habit forming? No
  • Prescription needed? Yes
  • Available as generic? Yes
  • Drug class: Antibiotic


    Treatment of infections susceptible to chloramphenicol.

Dosage & Usage Information

How to take:
Suspension or capsule--Swallow with liquid.
Eye or ear solution or cream--Follow label instructions.

When to take:
Capsule or suspension--1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.

If you forget a dose:
Take as soon as you remember up to 2 hours late. If more than 2 hours, wait for next scheduled dose (don't double this dose).

What drug does:
Prevents bacteria from growing and reproducing. Will not kill viruses.

Time lapse before drug works:
2 to 5 days, depending on type and severity of infection.

Don't take with:
Any other medicine without consulting your doctor or pharmacist.


Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.


    Overdose unlikely to threaten life. If person takes much larger amount than prescribed, call doctor, poison-control center or hospital emergency room for instructions.

Possible Adverse Reactions or Side Effects


    Hives, rash, intense Seek emergency itching, faintness treatment immediately. soon after a dose (anaphylaxis).


    None expected.


  • Swollen face or extremities; diarrhea; nausea; vomiting; numbness, tingling, burning pain or weakness in hands and feet, pale skin, unusual bleeding or bruising.
  • Headache, confusion.


  • Pain, blurred vision, possible vision loss, delirium, rash, sore throat, fever, jaundice, anemia.
  • In babies: Bloated stomach, uneven breathing, drowsiness, low temperature, gray skin.

Warnings & Precautions

Don't take if:

  • You are allergic to chloramphenicol.
  • It is prescribed for a minor disorder such as flu, cold or mild sore throat.

Before you start, consult your doctor:

  • If you have had a blood disorder or bone-marrow disease.
  • If you have had kidney or liver disease.
  • If you have diabetes.

Over age 60:
Adverse reactions and side effects may be more frequent and severe than in younger persons, particularly skin irritation around rectum.

Risk to unborn child outweighs drug benefits. Don't use.

Drug passes into milk. Avoid drug or discontinue nursing until you finish medicine. Consult doctor for advice on maintaining milk supply.

Infants & children:
Don't give to infants younger than 2.

Prolonged use:

  • You may become more susceptible to infections caused by germs not responsive to chloramphenicol.
  • Talk to your doctor about the need for follow-up medical examinations or laboratory studies to check complete blood counts (white blood cell count, platelet count, red blood cell count, hemoglobin, hematocrit), chloramphenicol serum levels.

Skin & sunlight:
No problems expected.

Driving, piloting or hazardous work:
Don't drive or pilot aircraft until you learn how medicine affects you. Don't work around dangerous machinery. Don't climb ladders or work in high places. Danger increases if you drink alcohol or take medicine affecting alertness and reflexes.

Don't discontinue without doctor's advice until you complete prescribed dose, even though symptoms diminish or disappear.


  • Chloramphenicol can cause serious anemia. Frequent laboratory blood studies, liver and kidney tests recommended.
  • Second medical opinion recommended before starting.

Possible Interaction with Other Drugs

------------------------ -----------------------
Anticoagulants* Increased anticoagulant effect.
Antidiabetics*, Increased antidiabetic
oral effect.
Anticonvulsants* Increased chance of toxicity to
bone marrow.
Cefiximine Decreased antibiotic effect of
Cephalosporins* Decreased chloramphenicol effect.
Clindamycin Decreased clindamycin effect.
Clozapine Toxic effect on bone marrow.
Cyclophosphamide Increased cyclophosphamide effect.
Didanosine Increased risk of peripheral
Erythromycins Decreased erythromycin effect.
Flecainide Possible decreased blood-cell
production in bone marrow.
Levamisole Increased risk of bone marrow
Lincomycin Decreased lincomycin effect.
Lisinopril Possible blood disorders.
Penicillins* Decreased penicillin effect.
Phenobarbital Increased phenobarbital effect.
Phenytoin Increased phenytoin effect.
Rifampin Decreased chloramphenicol effect.
Thioguanine More likelihood of toxicity of both
Tiopronin Increased risk of toxicity to bone
Tocainide Possible decreased blood-cell
production in bone marrow.

Possible Interaction with Other Substances

--------------- ---------------
Alcohol: Possible liver problems. May cause
disulfiram reaction*.
Beverages: None expected.
Cocaine: No proven problems.
Foods: None expected.
Marijuana: None expected.
Tobacco: None expected.

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