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NZ Formulary

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Gentamicin (injection)

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What does it do?

Gentamicin is used to treat bacterial infections.

How is it given?

Gentamicin is given as an infusion or a slow injection into a vein, or as an injection into a muscle. It is usually given to you by a health professional.

What if you forget a dose?

If you miss a dose, contact your health professional as soon as possible. Usually, the missed dose is given as soon as possible and treatment continued as directed.

Can you take other medicines?

Some medicines available without a prescription may react with gentamicin including:

  • anti-inflammatories, such as diclofenac (e.g. Voltaren®), ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen®), or aspirin (e.g. Disprin®, in doses used for pain relief). These can also be found in some cold and flu medicines (e.g. Nurofen Cold and Flu®).

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Hearing loss, ringing in the ears, unsteadiness

Peeing less or not at all

Tell your health professional immediately

Pain, tenderness or redness at injection site

Tell your health professional if troublesome

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have kidney, hearing or balance problems, or a chronic muscle condition (e.g. myasthenia gravis).
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • You will need regular blood tests to measure the amount of gentamicin in your blood, to make sure you are on the right dose.
  • Gentamicin can cause kidney problems. You will need regular blood tests to check how well your kidneys are working.

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the PILs Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand. December 2018

For more general information about this sheet and its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

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About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at the Canterbury District Health Board. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed