Consumer medicine information

APOHEALTH Chloramphenicol Eye Drops


Consumer Medicine Information

For a copy of a large print leaflet, Ph: 1800 195 055

What is in this leaflet

This leaflet answers some common questions about chloramphenicol. It does not contain all the available information. It does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist.

All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risks of you using this medicine against the benefits they expect it will have for you.

If you have any concerns about taking this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Keep this leaflet with your medicine. You may want to read it again.

What this medicine is used for

APOHEALTH Chloramphenicol is a topical antibiotic eye drop used to treat bacterial conjunctivitis.

How it works

Bacterial conjunctivitis is a highly contagious bacterial infection involving the mucous membrane of the surface of the eye.

Common symptoms include sticky yellow-white discharge with mucous and pus, a gritty sensation in the eye, irritation and redness of the eye and watery eyes. The infection usually starts in one eye and then spreads to the other.

Chloramphenicol works by stopping the growth of the bacteria causing your infection.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about why this medicine has been recommended for you. Your doctor or pharmacist may have recommended this medicine for another reason.

This medicine is not addictive.

Before you use this medicine

When you must not use it

Do not use this medicine if you have an allergy to:

  • chloramphenicol
  • any of the ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet

Some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction may include:

  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • swelling of the face, lips, tongue, throat or other parts of the body
  • rash, itching or hives on the skin

This medicine should not be used in children under 2 years of age unless on medical advice.

Do not use this medicine after the expiry date printed on the pack or the packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering. If it has expired or is damaged, return it to your pharmacist for disposal.

If you are not sure whether you should use this medicine, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Before you start to use it

Tell your doctor if you have allergies to any other medicines, foods, preservatives or dyes.

Tell your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • aversion to light, severe pain or swelling in the eye
  • loss of, reduced or blurred vision, restricted eye movement
  • contact lens wear – contact lenses should not be worn during chloramphenicol treatment. If you wear hard or disposable contact lenses, you can start using your contact lenses again after successfully completing the course of treatment. If you wear soft contact lenses, you should wait 24 hours after successfully completing the course of treatment before starting to use your lenses again
  • injury to the eye or foreign object in the eye
  • history of welding without eye protection immediately prior to onset of symptoms
  • glaucoma
  • dry eye syndrome
  • eye surgery or laser treatment in the past six months
  • history or family history of bone marrow problems or blood disorders

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Your doctor will discuss with you the risks and benefits involved.

If you have not told your doctor about any of the above, tell them before you start taking this medicine.

Taking other medicines

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including any that you get without a prescription from your pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop.

Other eye preparations may interfere with how well chloramphenicol works. You must separate the dose of chloramphenicol eye drops from your other eye drops by 5 minutes and separate from eye ointments by 10 minutes.

Other medicines not listed above may also interact with chloramphenicol.

How to use this medicine

Follow all directions given to you by your doctor or pharmacist carefully. They may differ from the information contained in this leaflet.

How much to use

Place one or two drops in the affected eye(s) every 2 to 6 hours for 2 to 3 days. The interval between doses may then be increased.

How to use it

To keep the medicine as germ free as possible, do not touch the tip of the bottle to the eye or any surface.

  • Wash your hands.
  • Tilt your head back and pull the lower lid away from your eye to make a pouch and drop the medicine into this space. Let go of your eyelid and gently close your eyes. Try not to blink for a short time as this can stop the medication from working properly.
  • Apply gentle pressure to the inner corner of the eye (the tear duct) for approximately 1 minute immediately after placing the drops in the eye. This will reduce the amount of medicine absorbed into the blood stream or other parts of the body.
  • Keep your eyes closed for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the medicine to come into contact with the infection.

When to use it

Use this medicine at about the same time each day. Using it at the same time each day will have the best effect and will also help you remember when to use it.

How long to use it for

Continue using this medicine for as long as your doctor or pharmacist tells you.

Normally treatment is continued for at least 2 days after the eye appears to be back to normal. Do not use for more than 5 days in total except on medical advice.

If you forget to use it

If it is almost time to administer your next dose, skip the missed dose and use your medicine at the usual time.

Otherwise, use it as soon as you remember and then go back to using your medicine as you would normally.

Do not administer a double dose to make up for missed doses. This may increase the chance of you experiencing side effects.

If you have trouble remembering to use your medicine, ask your pharmacist for some hints to help you remember.

If you use too much (overdose)

Rinse your eye with large amounts of water for at least 15 minutes if pain, swelling, excessive tears or an uncomfortable sensitivity to the light is experienced after application of chloramphenicol eye drops.

Contact your doctor or pharmacist if symptoms are still present after thoroughly rinsing your eye.

Immediately telephone your doctor or the Poisons Information Centre (Tel: 13 11 26 in Australia) for advice if you think that you or anyone else may have accidentally swallowed this medicine.

Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning.

While you are using this medicine

Things you must do

Tell any other doctors, dentists and pharmacists who are treating you that you are using this medicine.

If the symptoms of your infection do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if your infection does not start to improve within 48 hours.

Stop using chloramphenicol eye drops and tell your doctor or pharmacist if irritation occurs or you experience an allergic reaction.

Things you must not do

Do not give this medicine to anyone else, even if they have the same condition as you.

Do not use your medicine to treat any other condition unless your doctor tells you to.

Do not stop using your medicine or lower the dosage without checking with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you do not complete the full course prescribed by your doctor or pharmacist, the infection may not be completely cured. The bacteria may grow again, and your symptoms may return.

Things to be careful of

Be careful driving or operating machinery until you know how it affects you. This medicine generally does not cause any problems with your ability to drive a car or operate machinery. However, it may cause blurred vision. If your vision is affected, do not drive, operate machinery or do anything else that could be dangerous.

Side effects

Tell your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are using chloramphenicol eye drops.

This medicine helps most people with bacterial conjunctivitis, but it may unwanted side effects in a few people. All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious most of the time they are not. You may need medical attention if you get some of the side effects.

Do not be alarmed by the following lists of side effects. You may not experience any of them.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you may have.

Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following and they worry you:

  • temporary itching, burning or stinging eyes

Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the following.

  • eye soreness, redness or swelling that was not present before treatment or that worsens after treatment
  • skin rash, itching or swelling
  • fever
  • unusual tiredness, weakness, bleeding or bruising more easily than normal

The above list includes serious side effects that may require medical attention.

If any of the following happen, tell your doctor immediately or go to the Accident and Emergency department at your nearest hospital:

  • symptoms of an allergic reaction including shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, throat or other parts of the body

The above list includes very serious side effects. You may need urgent medical attention or hospitalisation.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice anything that is making you feel unwell.

Other side effects not listed above may occur in some patients.

Storage and disposal


Keep the unopened bottles in the refrigerator, where the temperature stays between 2°C and 8°C and where children cannot reach it. The top shelf of the refrigerator at the back is a good place to store this medicine.

After opening, keep your eye drops in a cool dry place where the temperature stays below 25°C.

Do not store your medicine, or any other medicine, in the bathroom or near a sink. Do not leave it on a window sill or in the car. Heat and dampness can destroy some medicines.

Keep your eye drops in the bottle until it is time to use them. If you remove the eye drops out of the bottle they may not keep well.

Keep it where children cannot reach it. A locked cupboard at least one-and- a-half metres above the ground is a good place to store medicines.


APOHEALTH Chloramphenicol Eye Drops should be discarded within one month after opening.

If your doctor or pharmacist tells you to stop taking this medicine or it has passed its expiry date, your pharmacist can dispose of the remaining medicine safely.

Product description

What APOHEALTH Chloramphenicol eye drops looks like

APOHEALTH Chloramphenicol eye drops are in 10 mL plastic dropper bottle. AUST R 222547.


Each 1 mL of APOHEALTH Chloramphenicol eye drops contains 5 mg of chloramphenicol.

It also contains the following:

  • phenylmercuric nitrate as a preservative
  • boric acid
  • borax
  • water for injections


Apotex Pty Ltd
16 Giffnock Avenue
Macquarie Park NSW 2113

This leaflet was last updated in January 2022.

Published by MIMS March 2022