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Neomycin, Polymyxin, and Bacitracin Ophthalmic

(nee oh mye' sin) (pol i mix' in) (bass i tray' sin)

Brand Name(s): Mycitracin® Ophthalmic Ointment (as a combination product containing Bacitracin, Neomycin, Polymyxin B), Neo-polycin® Ophthalmic Ointment (as a combination product containing Bacitracin, Neomycin, Polymyxin B), Neosporin® Ophthalmic Ointment (as a combination product containing Bacitracin, Neomycin, Polymyxin B); also available generically

WHY is this medicine prescribed?

Neomycin, polymyxin, and bacitracin ophthalmic combination is used to treat eye and eyelid infections. Neomycin, polymyxin, and bacitracin are in a class of medications called antibiotics. Neomycin, polymyxin, and bacitracin combination works by stopping the growth of bacteria infecting a surface of the eye.

Are there OTHER USES for this medicine?

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

HOW should this medicine be used?

Ophthalmic neomycin, polymyxin, and bacitracin combination comes as an ointment to apply inside the lower lid of an infected eye. The ointment is usually applied to the eye every 3 to 4 hours for 7 to 10 days, as directed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use neomycin, polymyxin, and bacitracin ophthalmic ointment exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Your eye or eyelid infection should begin getting better during the first few days of treatment with neomycin, polymyxin, and bacitracin combination. If your symptoms do not go away or get worse, call your doctor.

Continue to use neomycin, polymyxin, and bacitracin combination as directed, even if your symptoms improve. Do not stop using neomycin, polymyxin, and bacitracin combination without talking to your doctor. If you stop using this medication too soon or skip doses, your infection may not be completely cured and bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics.

This medication is for use in the eye only. Do not let neomycin, polymyxin, and bacitracin combination get into your nose or mouth, and do not swallow it.

Never share your tube of ophthalmic ointment, even with someone who was also prescribed this medication. If more than one person uses the same tube, infection may spread.

To apply the eye ointment, follow these steps:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. Use a mirror or have someone else apply the ointment.
  3. Avoid touching the tip of the tube against your eye or anything else. The ointment must be kept clean.
  4. Tilt your head forward slightly.
  5. Holding the tube between your thumb and index finger, place the tube as near as possible to your eyelid without touching it.
  6. Brace the remaining fingers of that hand against your cheek or nose.
  7. With the index finger of your other hand, pull the lower lid of your eye down to form a pocket.
  8. Place a small amount of ointment into the pocket made by the lower lid and the eye. A 1/2-inch (1.25-centimeter) strip of ointment usually is enough unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
  9. Gently close your eyes and keep them closed for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the medication to be absorbed.
  10. Replace and tighten the cap right away.
  11. Wipe off any excess ointment from your eyelids and lashes with a clean tissue. Wash your hands again.

What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

Before using neomycin, polymyxin, and bacitracin ointment,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to neomycin (Myciguent, others); polymyxin; bacitracin (Baciguent, others); aminoglycoside antibiotics such as amikacin (Amikin), gentamicin (Garamycin), kanamycin (Kantrex), paromomycin (Humatin), streptomycin, and tobramycin (Nebcin, Tobi); zinc; or any other medications.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention aminoglycoside antibiotics such as amikacin (Amikin), gentamicin (Garamycin), kanamycin (Kantrex), paromomycin (Humatin), streptomycin, and tobramycin (Nebcin, Tobi). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had hearing problems or kidney disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using neomycin, polymyxin, and bacitracin ointment, call your doctor.

What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?

Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

Neomycin, polymyxin, and bacitracin ointment may cause side effects. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • eye pain
  • irritation, burning, itching, swelling, or redness of the eye or eyelid
  • worsening eye discharge
  • red or scaly patches around eye or eyelid
  • rash
  • hives
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • hoarseness
  • chest tightness
  • faintness
  • dizziness

Neomycin, polymyxin, and bacitracin combination may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).

Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org

What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor.

Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish the neomycin, polymyxin, and bacitracin combination ointment, call your doctor.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.


This report on medications is for your information only, and is not considered individual patient advice. Because of the changing nature of drug information, please consult your physician or pharmacist about specific clinical use.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists® represents that the information provided hereunder was formulated with a reasonable standard of care, and in conformity with professional standards in the field. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists® makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, including, but not limited to, any implied warranty of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose, with respect to such information and specifically disclaims all such warranties. Users are advised that decisions regarding drug therapy are complex medical decisions requiring the independent, informed decision of an appropriate health care professional, and the information is provided for informational purposes only. The entire monograph for a drug should be reviewed for a thorough understanding of the drug's actions, uses and side effects. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists® does not endorse or recommend the use of any drug. The information is not a substitute for medical care.

Pronunciation Guide for Drug Names is used with permission. © 2009. The United States Pharmacopeial Convention. All Rights Reserved.

AHFS® Patient Medication Information™. © Copyright, 2020. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists®, 4500 East-West Highway, Suite 900, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.

Selected Revisions: April 15, 2016.