Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin (Topical)

Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin is an over-the-counter topical antibiotic that you can purchase without a prescription.

Overview

Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin is a combination treatment used to treat minor bacterial infections on the skin, or to prevent bacterial infections from occuring in minor cuts and wounds. The three primary ingredients are as follows:

Neomycin -- this is an'œaminogly coside antibiotic'which prevents bacteria from producing proteins properly, damaging the cell membrane of the bacteria and ultimately destroying it.

Polymyxin B -- another antibiotic, which damages the cell wall of the bacteria, causing of te interior of the cell to leak out, leading to cell death.

Bacitracin -- another antibiotic, which also works by damaging the cell wall of the bacteria.

Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin may also contain other active ingredients, such as a topical analgesic (painkiller).

As with all antibiotics, you should complete the full course of your treatment with this medication, even if your symptoms disappear. If you do not complete the full course, the symptoms may return.

This medication should not be used on deep wounds, fungal infections, or areas affected by other skin conditions. In these cases, consult your doctor of pharmacist for further advice.

This medication is usually given as a cream, ointment, or a spray. It is commonly known under the brand names Triple Antibiotic, Neosporin and Ultra Mide.

Conditions Treated

  • Bacterial infection on the skin
  • Minor cuts and wounds

Type Of Medicine

  • Antibacterial

Side Effects

As well as the intended effect of the medication, Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin may also trigger some undesired side-effects. Consult your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Any loss or difficulty with your hearing
  • Itching or irritation
  • Rashes or hives
  • Redness on the skin
  • Swelling

In many cases irritation to the skin is bothersome but not harmful long-term, however in some case it may be an indication of an allergic reaction to the medication or one of the inactive ingredients in the preparation, and so you should seek medical advice immediately if you notice these side-effects. Other potential side effects of an allergic reaction include:

  • Blue tone to the skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Tightness in the chest

This is not a complete list of the side-effects that you may experience. Pay attention to your body when you are using this medication and if you notice any side effects that are unusual or concerning, contact your pharmacist or your doctor for advice. They may recommend that you use a different medication, such as 'œdouble antibiotic' preparations which contain Polymyxin B and Bacitracin, but not Neomycin. Alternatively, they may recommend that you adjust the dose of this medication, or they may give you a supplementary medication to help remove the side effects.

Dosage

The dosage of Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin that you take will depend on a number of factors, including the specific medical problem you are trying to treat and the strength of the medication. Read the label carefully for more information, or ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure.

The typical strength of the over-the-counter preparation of this medication is as follows:

  • Bacitracin zinc -- 400 units per gram
  • Neomycin sulphate -- 3.5 milligrams per gram
  • Polymyxin B sulphate -- 5000 units per gram

Typically, you would be instructed to apply the product to the affected area two to five times each day. Wash the affected area with soap and water, and dry thoroughly before applying. After application, cover the wound with a sterile band aid or bandage.

If you miss one of your doses of Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin, use it as soon as you remember. However, if you are close to the time of your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your schedule. You do not need to take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

Interactions

Prior to using any medication, including over-the-counter products like Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin, it is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist about any medication, vitamins, herbal products or other supplements that you are taking already. Some medications and products may interact with Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin in a way that produces negative effects or unpleasant side-effects.

The following medications are of particular note:

  • Alcuronium
  • Atracurium
  • Bumetanide
  • Cidofovir
  • Cisatracurium
  • Colistimethate Sodium
  • Decamethonium
  • Doxacurium
  • Ethacrynic Acid
  • Fazadinium
  • Foscarnet
  • Furosemide
  • Gallamine
  • Hexafluorenium
  • Metocurine
  • Mivacurium
  • Pancuronium
  • Pipecuronium
  • Rapacuronium
  • Rocuronium
  • Sorafenib
  • Tubocurarine
  • Vecuronium

Warnings

Consult your doctor or pharmacist for advice before using over-the-counter medications to ensure that this product is suitable for you and for the symptoms that you are experiencing.

Check the ingredients on the packaging of your medication to ensure that you are not allergic to any of the non-active ingredients. These may include, but are not limited to, the following substances:

  • Cocoa butter
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Sodium pyruvate
  • Tocopheryl acetate
  • Petroleum jelly

Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin is generally safe when used under the recommendation of your doctor or pharmacist. However, it may not be safe for use in some people. These include:

Pregnant women -- some studies have found that there is a risk to the unborn baby if this medication is used by pregnant women. If you are pregnant, you should seek advice from your doctor before using Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin. All users of Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin should ensure that their medication does not transfer to pregnant women via contact with the area of the skin at which you have applied the topical preparation.

Breastfeeding women -- research has shown minimal impact of Bacitracin on infants when used by women who are breastfeeding. However the research on Neomycin is inconclusive. If you are breastfeeding, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.

Children -- no studies have tested the effects of Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin on children. Seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist before giving this medication to children.

Older people -- it is known know whether Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin works the same way in older people as it does for younger individuals. If you are over the age of 65, consult your doctor or pharmacist before you use this medication.

Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin may also be unsuitable for use in people with the following medication conditions. If you have any of the conditions listed below, seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication:

Any other skin condition

  • Burns
  • Deep wounds
  • Mycobacterial or fungal infections
  • Perforated Tympanic Membrane
  • Puncture wounds

You should also let your doctor or pharmacist know if you have previously suffered from any of the conditions on the list above.

Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin should only be used on the skin. Do not allow this medication to get into your, mouth, eyes or nose, and do not swallow it.

If your condition does not improve within one week, seek further advice from your doctor. You may need a different medication to fight off your infection.

Storage

Observe the guidelines below to safely store Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin.

Avoid sources of heat -- This medication should be stored at room temperature. Avoid sources of heat such as heaters, radiators and the stove. Do not store the medication in the bathroom because the heat from the hot faucet or the shower may damage the medication. Do not store the medication in the glove compartment of your car.

Do not refrigerate or freeze -- Do not store Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin in the refrigerator or the freezer, as this may damage the medication.

Avoid moisture -- Keep the medication in a dry location. The medicine cabinet in your bathroom is usually unsuitable because of the moisture produced by the shower.

Avoid direct sunlight -- Store the medication away from sources of direct sunlight such as windows, and do not store it on the dashboard of your vehicle.

Keep away from children -- Follow the 'œup and away' rule when storing any medication -- keep the'œup' in a place that is out of the reach of children, and'œaway' from their line of sight. Store all medications in a child-proof container.

Check the expiry date -- When stored correctly, Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin will be safe to use up until the expiry date printed on the packaging. One the medication has passed this date, do not use it as it may be of reduced potency, or it may be harmful to use.

Dispose safely -- Once you have finished the course of your medication, or if your medication has passed its shelf life, it needs to be disposed of safely. Do you simply throw it away in the trash. Your pharmacist will be able to advise you on where to take you used and expired medication, or they may be able to take it from you themselves.

Summary

Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin is a topical antibiotic used to help fight infections on the skin. It is a generally well-tolerated medication and adverse reactions are rare. It is available without a prescription.

To prevent your symptoms from returning, you should complete the full course of your treatment of this medication, even if your symptoms appear to have improved.

Minor skin infections treated with Neomycin, Polymyxin B, and Bacitracin should begin to improve within one week. If they do not, consult your doctor or pharmacist who will be able to recommend alternative medications.