Neomycin and Polymyxin B (Topical)

The combination drug, neomycin and polymyxin B is a topical antibiotic that is used for the treatment of minor skin infections.

Overview

In the US, neomycin and polymyxin B is better known under its brand name of antibiotic cream. You can buy this medicine from your drugstore or pharmacy without a doctor's prescription, and it comes in powder or cream form.

Neomycin and polymyxin B is a combination antibiotic for use as a preventative. It is used as a self-medication product to prevent bacterial infections that may result from small abrasions, cuts, or burns.

This medication is not suitable for use over large expanses of skin. It should also not be used exclusively to treat more serious injuries such as puncture wounds, serious burns, or animal bites. In this instance, you should consult your doctor, as a different form of treatment may be required.

Neomycin and polymyxin B works by preventing bacterial growth, removing the danger of infection setting in. This drug will not work to treat infections caused by viruses or fungi. It should be noted that overuse of this medication will result in decreased efficacy.

Conditions treated

  • Minor skin damage, cuts, scrapes etc

Type of medicine

  • Combination antibiotic
  • Powder
  • Cream

Side effects

In addition to the beneficial effects it can bring, some medicines can cause unwanted side effects. Most people who use neomycin and polymyxin B will not notice any adverse effects, but if you do experience any unwanted effects, you should check with your doctor, as you may require further medical attention.

Dosage

Note that neomycin and polymyxin B should not be used to treat serious, deep wounds, puncture wounds, serious burns, animal bites, or raw areas of skin, without first asking your GP for advice.

Do not use neomycin and polymyxin B around your eyes, inside of your nose, or inside of the mouth.

Guidelines for use

1. Before you use the medication, wash your hands and the skin of the area to be treated with antibacterial soap and clean, warm water. Dry the skin thoroughly.

2. Place a small quantity of medication on the affected area and rub it in carefully.

3. You may cover the treated site with a small piece of gauze dressing if you wish. Do not use cotton, as its fibers can become trapped inside the wound where they could harbor bacteria.

It is not recommended that you use neomycin and polymyxin B for more than one week or over large expanses of your skin, unless you doctor tells you to. To do so could increase the risk of side effects and could cause an infection to spread.

Continue using this medication for the full duration of treatment to ensure that the infection clears completely. You should continue using the cream, even if your skin appears better. Do not omit any doses of the treatment.

Dose rates

The dose of this medication will not necessarily be the same for every patient. You should use neomycin and polymyxin B as per your treating physician's directions or follow the instructions on the product packaging. The dosage information contained in this guide is based on the recommended average. If you have been told to use a different dose rate, to not alter it unless your GP instructs you to do so.

The amount of neomycin and polymyxin B that you will use will be dependent on the strength of the brand you are using. The frequency of uses and the number of treatments you use every day will depend on the condition that you are using the medicine for.

For preventing minor skin infections (topical cream):

  • Adults and children over the age of two years: Apply the cream to the skin in affected sites one to three times each day.
  • Children under the age of two years: Your child's doctor will direct you as to the correct use and dose of this drug.

If you forget a dose of this drug, try to use it as soon as you can. If your next application is due, leave out the dose you forgot, and return to your usual dosing schedule.

Interactions

Drug interactions

In some cases, certain drugs must never be used at the same time, as to do so could trigger a potentially serious interaction between them. In these cases, your GP may decide that you should continue to use both drugs together, even though there will be an interaction. However, your dose or frequency of use may be changed to manage or prevent the interaction from occurring.

Make sure that you tell your GP if you are already using any other prescription or over the counter drugs.

It is not generally recommended to use neomycin and polymyxin B with any of the medications that are listed below, although this may be required in some cases. If both medicines are necessary for your health conditions, your GP may change the frequency or dose rate of one or both of them:

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

The use of neomycin and polymyxin B with any of the medications listed below could present a heightened risk of you experiencing a few side effects. However, using both medicines may be the best option for your treatment. Your doctor may change your dose or frequency of use of one or both of your drugs:

  • Vecuronium
  • Tubocurarine
  • Rocuronium
  • Rapacuronium
  • Pipecuronium
  • Pancuronium
  • Mivacurium
  • Metocurine
  • Hexafluorenium
  • Gallamine
  • Fazadinium
  • Doxacurium
  • Cisatracurium
  • Bumetanide
  • Atracurium
  • Alcuronium

Other interactions

Some medicines must not be used when you are eating or with particular food groups, alcohol, or tobacco. Be sure to discuss this aspect of your treatment with neomycin and polymyxin B with your GP before you begin using the cream.

Warnings

When you opt to use a particular medication, you accept that there will be risks as well as benefits in doing so. It is recommended that you have discussions with your GP about your use of this drug before you start using it. You will then be best-placed to make a decision on whether to use it or not.

Allergies

Be sure to tell your GP if you are allergic to neomycin and polymyxin B or to any other medicines, including over the counter products, herbal preparations, diet pills, or vitamin supplements. Tell your doctor if you have any known allergies to certain foodstuffs, preservatives, dyes, or animal by-products.

Pediatric

There is no evidence available to suggest that using neomycin and polymyxin B could be harmful to children. However, you may wish to discuss this with your GP before using the product on your child if you have any concerns.

Geriatric

There is no evidence to suggest that using neomycin and polymyxin B in elderly people could have any unwanted side effects. If you have worried about using this product, check with your doctor for reassurance.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Research has shown that using neomycin and polymyxin B can present a risk to the unborn baby. Pregnant women should therefore not use this product. Any woman who is pregnant and is considering using this drug to treat a minor skin problem should consult her GP for guidance, as there may be a more suitable alternative available.

There is no evidence to show that neomycin and polymyxin B could be ingested by a nursing infant. However, if you are breastfeeding you may wish to discuss the potential risks of doing so with your midwife or GP. To err on the side of caution, it may be best to use an alternative feeding solution for your child while you are using this drug.

If your skin problem does not show signs of improvement within one week of starting treatment with this medicine, or if the condition becomes worse, you should check with your GP.

Storage

You should keep your supply of neomycin and polymyxin B in its original packaging and with the lid firmly closed.

Do not freeze the medicine. Keep the drug away from sources of heat and out of direct sunlight. Keep the cream at room temperature.

Do not allow children or pets to have access to neomycin and polymyxin B.

Do not keep unwanted, previously opened medication that has passed its use-by date.

Summary

Neomycin and polymyxin B is a use-at-home antibiotic cream that is designed to be used on minor skin abrasions, cuts, and burns. It is not suitable for use on serious wounds or widespread areas of skin damage.

Although there are no recorded side effects for this medicine, there are a number of drugs that it should not be used with. Be sure to discuss your skin condition and your full medical history before you begin to use this medicine.

It should be noted that this medication can be dangerous to the fetus, and it should therefore not be used by pregnant women.