Leila Cruikshank

Chloramphenicol

Why is this medication prescribed?
Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin®) is a broad-spectrum intravenous (IV) antibiotic.  In CF, chloramphenicol is used to treat lung infections caused by specific bacteria - for example Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

How does this medication work?
Chloramphenicol works by decreasing the amount of bacteria in the lungs.

What is the usual dose?
The usual adult dose in CF is 500mg every 6 hours by IV infusion.

How should this medication be taken?
It is important that you receive chloramphenicol on a regular schedule because the drug works best when there is a constant amount in the blood. The treatment usually lasts 10 to 14 days, however, your doctor may decide that you require a longer treatment.

It is possible that your treatment could be finished at home. If you finish therapy at home, chloramphenicol should be given by someone trained to administer IV medications. Sometimes you or a family member can be taught to administer IV antibiotics.

If the IV bags are to be kept in the fridge, take the IV bag for the next dose out of the fridge one hour before the dose is due and let it warm to room temperature.

You must complete your treatment of antibiotics. Do not stop unless your doctor tells you to.

What should I do if I miss a dose?
Do not double any dose. If you forget to take a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next scheduled dose.

What should I expect from this medication?
You may or may not experience side effects. These side effects may disappear but let your doctor know if they are severe or if they last for more than 2 days. These include nausea, diarrhea, headache, blurred vision, and pain at the site of the injection, but tell us if you have any other side effects as well.

There is a rare but possibly serious side effect from choloramphenicol called aplastic anemia. Blood tests will have to be done several times a week to monitor for this side effect. 

Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you experience rash, hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, throat or lips.

 Precautions
 
If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant, talk to your doctor before starting any antibiotics.