Chloramphenicol is a medication used in conjunctivitis, made by Mercury Pharma. It contains an antibiotic agent which targets the bacteria responsible.

If you are experiencing conjunctivitis symptoms, then you should make an appointment with your doctor in person. They will be able to determine the best possible course of treatment for you.

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PLEASE NOTE: This treatment is not available through our online pharmacy service. This page is for information only. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to the condition(s) this medication treats, we strongly recommend that you see your GP in person.
Product information

Chloramphenicol is a medication made by Mercury Pharma for the treatment of conjunctivitis infections. It contains an antibiotic, which relieves symptoms by combating the bacteria responsible. Only available on prescription, Chloramphenicol is sold as both eye drops, and as an ophthalmic ointment which is applied directly to the eye affected.

  1. Available as an ointment or as eye drops
  2. Improves symptoms in just 24 hours
  3. Simple to use

Conjunctivitis is a condition which can be caused by a number of factors. These might be an allergen, such as pollen or dust mites, an irritable substance or chemical found in shampoo or soap, or a type of bacterial infection. Most of the time, the condition causes redness and inflammation in the eye, and is more commonly known as redeye. It might induce irritation, itchiness, wateriness, as well as a discharge which is sticky and yellow.

The condition is often not a serious one, and is fairly easy to treat. In some cases however, particularly where symptoms are severe or are accompanied by pain, sight problems, sensitivity to light, or severe redness, it may be necessary to go to your nearest hospital as soon as possible, as a more serious eye infection may be present.

Symptoms occur when blood vessels in the conjunctiva, which is a thin film of cells that cover the eyes, become enlarged, causing redness. Reacting to inflammation, these cells will also produce mucus, leading to watering and discharge. Like most bacterial infections, it is established through the transfer of harmful bacteria from one source to, in this case, the eye.

In order to rid the area of infection, a doctor will typically issue a medication in the form of ointment, or eye drops. For bacterial conjunctivitis, this is usually an antibiotic. Chloramphenicol is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, which means that it is functional against a wide range of bacterial strains. It works by eliminating the bacteria’s capacity to grow, by stopping it from producing the proteins it needs to replicate its own cells. Once weakened, the infection becomes susceptible to the body’s immune system, which fights off what remains.

Chloramphenicol is not available to buy from our UK pharmacy. See your doctor if you are experiencing conjunctivitis symptoms. They will be able to identify the cause of the issue, and help you get the most appropriate treatment.

Page last reviewed:  08/08/2018

It is vital to follow the directions issued by your prescriber when administering these treatments, and to read the instructions supplied in the patient information leaflet carefully prior to use. This will help you to limit the risk of side effects and to maximise the function of the medicine.

  1. Take as directed.

For Chloramphenicol Eye Drops:

  1. Apply two drops to the affected eye every three hours. In severe cases, a doctor may advise more frequent doses.
  2. Noticeable improvement should become apparent after 24 hours of use. It should continue to be used until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared up.
  3. Wash your hands before use.
  4. Take care not to touch or breathe on the tip of the bottle after opening.
  5. Lean your head backwards.
  6. Hold, without letting it touch, the tip of the bottle close to the eye being treated.
  7. Gently squeeze, so that two drops expel from the bottle into the eye.
  8. Do the same for the other eye if required.
  9. Secure the cap following administration.

For Chloramphenicol Ophthalmic Ointment:

  1. The typical dose may be a small amount applied to the eye, usually four times a day.
  2. It may be easier to get someone else to help you apply the ointment.
  3. Wash your hands.
  4. Avoid contact with the tip of the tube after opening, and do not breathe on it.
  5. Tilt your head back, and look directly upwards while gently pulling down the lower eyelid to expose the lower part of the eyeball.
  6. Lightly squeeze the tube and apply the ointment to this area. The desired amount is around 1cm of ointment along the inner eyelid.
  7. Do the same for the other eye if required.

For both treatments:

  1. If you do not notice any improvements after 48 hours of use, contact your doctor.
  2. Do not exceed the prescribed dose.

Missed doses should be applied as soon as you remember. If your next dose is due, you should skip the one you have missed and apply the medicine at the scheduled time.

This is only a summary of the directions you will need to follow when using this treatment. More detailed instructions can be found in the leaflet supplied.

Download Chloramphenicol Eye Drops PDF
Download Chloramphenicol Ophthalmic Ointment PDF

Page last reviewed:  08/08/2018
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:

Chloramphenicol 0.50%

Chloramphenicol 1%

Side effects & Warnings

It is crucial to be aware of the side effects associated with this product, so that you can act in the event that they occur. Seek medical attention immediately if you develop any signs of: an allergic reaction, such as wheeziness, fever, swelling of your face, lips or tongue, itching or rash with swelling of the skin (the rash could be puffy or blotchy, or look like little blisters); or changes in blood cell levels, which may be indicated by bruising or an inability to overcome infection.

If you experience burning or sharp pain in the affected eye after applying the medication, you should tell your prescriber or pharmacist. Where prolonged irritation, swelling or sensitivity to light occurs following administration, the eye should be washed for 15 minutes, and further medical advice should be sought.

Taking it with other medicines

Notify your prescriber during consultation if you are using any other treatments, including: methotrexate; or azathioprine.

Conditions to look out for

Persons who have ever had a blood disorder or bone marrow disease including anemia, or a family history of such, should not use this product.

Those with any of the following should check with their doctor prior to using this medicine that it is suitable for them: visual disturbances; severe pain in the eye; sensitivity to light; eye inflammation accompanied by a rash on the scalp or face; cloudiness in the eye; abnormal pupils; a foreign body in the eye; a persistent eye infection; glaucoma; dry eyes; or have recently had eye surgery or an injury.

Page last reviewed:  08/08/2018
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:

Chloramphenicol 0.50%

Chloramphenicol 1%


Can I still drink alcohol?

Yes. It is not thought that alcohol will affect the function of this treatment.

Will I still be able to drive?

Yes, provided your ability to do so is not compromised by the medication itself, or the symptoms of infection. If it is, do not drive and let your doctor know as soon as possible.

Can I take the medicine while pregnant?

These items are not suitable for use during breastfeeding, and may not be safe for use by some during pregnancy. Discuss the use of any medication with your doctor beforehand if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How should I store it?

The eye drops should be stored in a refrigerator, between 2 and 8°C; whereas the ointment should be kept in an environment which does not exceed 25°C. Both should be kept in a safe place, out of the reach of children.

Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?

In Chloramphenicol Eye Drops are the following: chloramphenicol, borax, boric acid, phenylmercuric nitrate, and water for injection.

The ingredients in Chloramphenicol Ophthalmic Ointment are: chloramphenicol, liquid paraffin, and polyethylene in paraffin liquid.

If you are allergic to any of these substances, do not use either of these medicines.

Is it available over-the-counter?

You will require a prescription in order to be able to buy Chloramphenicol online or in person. It cannot be bought without prior consultation with a doctor.

Is it right for me?

When you see your doctor, they will usually be able to pinpoint the cause of symptoms, and help you find the most suitable form of treatment. If you are experiencing conjunctivitis symptoms, make an appointment to see your GP.

Page last reviewed:  08/08/2018

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