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Neomycin sulfate is poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. The small absorbed fraction is rapidly distributed in the tissues and is excreted by the kidney in keeping with the degree of kidney function. The unabsorbed portion of the drug (approximately 97 percent) is eliminated unchanged in the feces.
Growth of most intestinal bacteria is rapidly suppressed following oral administration of neomycin sulfate, with the suppression persisting for 48-72 hours. Nonpathogenic yeasts and occasionally resistant strains of Enterobacter aerogenes (formerly Aerobacter aerogenes) replace the intestinal bacteria.
As with other aminoglycosides, the amount of systemically absorbed neomycin transferred to the tissues increases cumulatively with each repeated dose administered until a steady state is achieved. The kidney functions as the primary excretory path as well as the tissue binding site with the highest concentration found in renal cortex. With repeated dosings, progressive accumulation also occurs in the inner ear. Release of tissue bound neomycin occurs slowly over a period of several weeks after dosing has been discontinued.
Protein binding studies have shown that the degree of aminoglycoside protein binding is low and, depending upon the methods used for testing, this may be between 0 and 30 percent.
In vitro tests have demonstrated that neomycin is bactericidal and acts by inhibiting the synthesis of protein in susceptible bacterial cells. It is effective primarily against gram-negative bacilli but does have some activity against gram-positive organisms. Neomycin is active in vitro against Escherichia coli and the Klebsiella-Enterobacter group. Neomycin is not active against anaerobic bowel flora.
If susceptibility testing is needed, using a 30 mcg disc, organisms producing zones of 16 mm or greater are considered susceptible. Resistant organisms produce zones of 13 mm or less. Zones greater than 13 mm and less than 16 mm indicate intermediate susceptibility.
Last reviewed on RxList: 9/4/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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