Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP Last updated on RxList: 1/10/2022
Drug Description

What is Chloromycetin and how is it used?

Chloromycetin is a prescription medicine used to treat the symptoms of Serious Infections such as Meningitis, Typhoid, and Rickettsial Infection. Chloromycetin may be used alone or with other medications.

Chloromycetin belongs to a class of drugs called Antibiotics, Other.

What are the possible side effects of Chloromycetin?

Chloromycetin may cause serious side effects including:

  • hives,
  • difficulty breathing,
  • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat,
  • pale skin,
  • sore throat,
  • fever,
  • unusual bleeding,
  • easy bruising,
  • tiredness,
  • weakness,
  • confusion,
  • delirium,
  • headache,
  • eye pain,
  • blurred vision,
  • vision loss,
  • numbness, tingling, burning pain or weakness in your hands and feet, and
  • skin rash
  • Specifically in babies:
  • bloated stomach,
  • drowsiness,
  • gray skin color,
  • low body temperature,
  • uneven breathing, and
  • unresponsiveness

Get medical help right away, if you have any of the symptoms listed above.

The most common side effects of Chloromycetin include:

  • nausea,
  • vomiting, and
  • diarrhea

Tell the doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of Chloromycetin. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Bone marrow hypoplasia including aplastic anemia and death has been reported following topical application of chloramphenicol. Chloramphenicol should not be used when less potentially dangerous agents would be expected to provide effective treatment.


Each gram of Chloromycetin Ophthalmic Ointment, 1% contains 10 mg of chloramphenicol in a special base of liquid petrolatum and polyethylene. It contains no preservatives. Sterile ointment.

The chemical names for chloramphenicol are:

  1. Acetamide, 2,2-dichloro-N-[2-hydroxy-1-(hydroxymethyl)-2-(4-nitrophenyl) ethyl]-, and
  2. D-threo-(—)-2,2-Dichloro-N-[β-hydroxy-α-(hydroxymethyl)-p-nitrophenethyl] acetamide.

Chloramphenicol has the following empirical and structural formulas:

Chloromycetin®(Chloramphenicol) Structural Formula Illustration

Indications & Dosage


Chloramphenicol should be used only in those serious infections for which less potentially dangerous drugs are ineffective or contraindicated. Bacteriological studies should be performed to determine the causative organisms and their sensitivity to chloramphenicol (see BOX WARNING).

Chloromycetin Ophthalmic Ointment, 1% (Chloramphenicol Ophthalmic Ointment, USP) is indicated for the treatment of surface ocular infections involving the conjunctiva and/or cornea caused by chloramphenicol-susceptible organisms.

The particular antiinfective drug in this product is active against the following common bacterial eye pathogens:

Staphylococcus aureus
including Streptococcus pneumoniae
Escherichia coli

Haemophilus influenzae

Moraxella lucunata
  (Morax-Axenfeld bacillus)

This product does not provide adequate coverage against:

Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Serratia marcescens


A small amount of ointment placed in the lower conjunctival sac every three hours, or more frequently if deemed advisable by the prescribing physician. Administration should be continued day and night the first 48 hours, after which the interval between applications may be increased. Treatment should be continued for at least 48 hours after the eye appears normal.


N 0071–3070–07

Chloromycetin Ophthalmic Ointment, 1% (Chloramphenicol Ophthalmic Ointment, USP) is supplied, sterile, in ophthalmic ointment tubes of 3.5 grams.

Chloromycetin, brand of chloramphenicol. Reg US Pat Off Caution—Federal law prohibits dispensing without prescription.

Manufactured by: PARKE-DAVIS Div of Warner-Lambert Co/Morris Plains, NJ 07950 USA. Revised: October 2006.


What causes dry eyes? See Answer
Side Effects & Drug Interactions


Blood dyscrasias have been reported in association with the use of chloramphenicol (see WARNINGS).

Allergic or inflammatory reactions due to individual hypersensitivity and occasional burning or stinging may occur with the use of Chloromycetin Ophthalmic Ointment.


No Information Provided

Warnings & Precautions



Ophthalmic ointments may retard corneal wound healing.


The prolonged use of antibiotics may occasionally result in overgrowth of nonsusceptible organisms including fungi. If new infections appear during medication, the drug should be discontinued and appropriate measures should be taken.

In all serious infections the topical use of chloramphenicol should be supplemented by appropriate systemic medication.

Overdosage & Contraindications


No Information Provided


This product is contraindicated in persons sensitive to any of its components.

Clinical Pharmacology


Chloramphenicol is a broad-spectrum antibiotic originally isolated from Streptomyces venezuelae. It is primarily bacteriostatic and acts by inhibition of protein synthesis by interfering with the transfer of activated amino acids from soluble RNA to ribosomes. It has been noted that chloramphenicol is found in measurable amounts in the aqueous humor following local application to the eye. Development of resistance to chloramphenicol can be regarded as minimal for staphylococci and many other species of bacteria.

Medication Guide


No information provided. Please refer to the WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS sections.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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