Antibiotic treatments

Antibiotic eye drops/ointment

Examples: Chloramphenicol, Fusidic acid (Fucithalmic®), Levofloxacin (Oftaquix®)


How do antibiotics work?

Antibiotics prevent or treat infections caused by bacteria. They do this by killing bacteria or preventing them from growing. Eye drops or ointments are generally given to treat infections at the front of the eye. For some infections, your child might be given antibiotic tablets, capsules or syrup.

There are many different types of antibiotics and your child has been given the best one for their problem. It might take a few days before your child feels better.


What should I tell the pharmacist or doctor?

Tell the pharmacist or doctor if your child is allergic to any antibiotic, or other medication.


How to give eye drops/ointment

Before giving either drops or ointment, it is important to wash and dry your hands.

Eye drops: You only need to place one drop in each eye. If you need to give more than one type of eye drop, leave at least five minutes between applying each type of medicine.

Eye ointment: Pull down the lower lid and squeeze about 1/2 a centimetre (1/4 of an inch) of ointment into each eye. You need to take care not to touch the eye with the end of the tube.


How often and for how long should I give antibiotics?

Antibiotics need to be taken at regular times throughout the day. The pharmacist or doctor will tell you how frequently, and whether the antibiotics need to be taken with food or on an empty stomach. For syrups, ask your pharmacist if you need a 5ml spoon or an oral syringe. Antibiotic syrups need the bottle to be well shaken before use.

You should always complete the full course of treatment, even if your child seems better, as otherwise the infection may return.


What are the main side effects?

Mild side effects: Antibiotics can sometimes cause an upset stomach, diarrhoea or an unpleasant taste.

Eye drops and ointment can cause mild stinging, blurred sight or a funny taste in the mouth soon after putting them in.


Allergic reactions

The signs of an allergic reaction can include:

·         Severe redness, swelling and irritation of the eye or eyelids

·         Swelling of eyelids, lips or face

·         Difficulty breathing

·         Rash on the skin

If your child experiences any of these symptoms, stop the medication and seek medical attention immediately.


How do you store antibiotics?

Most eye drops/ointments can be stored at room temperature and should be thrown away four weeks after you open them. Some antibiotics need to be stored in a fridge and some need to be thrown away after one week. Check with your pharmacist when you need to discard the medication.

Do not use medicines after the expiry date written on the packaging.