Neomycin: Uses & Sides Effects

Neomycin is an antibiotic that fights bacteria in the body. Neomycin is used to reduce the risk of infection during surgery of your intestines. Neomycin is also used to reduce the symptoms of hepatic coma.

How should I take neomycin?

Never take neomycin in larger amounts than recommended, or for longer than 2 weeks. High doses or long-term use of neomycin can cause serious kidney problems, or hearing loss that may not be reversible. The longer you take neomycin, the more likely you are to develop these serious side effects. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Measure liquid medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Take neomycin for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics. Neomycin will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your kidney function, and your nerve and muscle function will need to be tested often. You may also need hearing tests. Neomycin can have long lasting effects on your body. Do not miss any follow up visits to your doctor for blood or urine tests.

If you are taking neomycin for hepatic coma, your treatment may also include a special diet. It is very important to follow the diet plan created for you by your doctor. You should become very familiar with the list of foods you should avoid to help control your condition.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using neomycin. Neomycin can interact with certain medicines that may be given during surgery.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not allow the liquid form of this medicine to freeze.


You should not take this medicine if you are allergic to neomycin or similar antibiotics such as amikacin (Amikin), gentamicin (Garamycin), kanamycin (Kantrex), paromomycin (Humatin, Paromycin), streptomycin, or tobramycin (Nebcin, Tobi).

You should not take neomycin if you have ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, a blockage in your intestines, or other inflammatory bowel disease.

To make sure you can safely take neomycin, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • kidney disease;
  • myasthenia gravis;
  • Parkinson’s disease.

FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use neomycin if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether neomycin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using neomycin.

Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • hearing problems, ringing in your ears, or a feeling of fullness in the ears;
  • spinning sensation, nausea, feeling like you might pass out;
  • loss of balance or coordination, trouble walking;
  • numbness or tingly feeling under your skin;
  • muscle twitching, seizure (convulsions);
  • urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • drowsiness, confusion, mood changes, increased thirst, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting;
  • swelling, weight gain, feeling short of breath;
  • weak or shallow breathing;
  • severe stomach cramps, diarrhea that is watery or bloody.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild nausea, vomiting;
  • mild diarrhea.


Neomycin can harm your kidneys, and this effect is increased when you also use certain other medicines harmful to the kidneys. Before using neomycin, tell your doctor about all other medicines you use. Many other drugs (including some over-the-counter medicines) can be harmful to the kidneys.

Before you take neomycin, tell your doctor if you are using any other antibiotics, such as

  • amikacin (Amikin)
  • amphotericin-B (Amphotec);
  • bacitracin (Baci IM);
  • colistimethate (Coly Mycin M);
  • gentamicin (Garamycin);
  • kanamycin (Kantrex);
  • paromomycin (Humatin, Paromycin);
  • polymyxin B sulfate;
  • penicillin V (PC Pen VK);
  • streptomycin;
  • tobramycin (Nebcin, Tobi);
  • vancomycin (Vancocin, Vancoled).

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

  • cisplatin (Platinol);
  • digoxin (digitalis, Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps);
  • methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall);
  • vitamin B-12;
  • antiviral medicines such as adefovir (Hepsera), cidofovir (Vistide), or tenofovir (Viread);
  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven);
  • a botulism toxin medication (Botox, Dysport, Myobloc, Xeomin, and others);
  • a diuretic (water pill) such as bumetanide (Bumex), ethacrynic acid (Edecrin), furosemide (Lasix), or torsemide (Demadex).

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Keyword: neomycin.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.