Chloramphenicol is an antibiotic useful for the treatment of a number of bacterial infections.



It is used for meningitis, plague, cholera, and typhoid fever. Its use is only recommended when safer antibiotics cannot be used. Monitoring both blood levels of the medication and blood cell levels every two days is recommended during treatment. It is available intravenously, by mouth, and as an eye ointment.


Chloramphenicol has caused severe and sometimes fatal blood problems (eg, anemia, low blood platelets, low white blood cell counts). Leukemia has also been reported after use of chloramphenicol. Blood problems have occurred after both short-term and long-term use of chloramphenicol. Do not use chloramphenicol if safer, effective medicines can be used. Do not use chloramphenicol to treat or prevent simple infections (eg, cold, flu, throat infections). Lab tests, such as complete blood cell counts, will be done to check for side effects. You may need to be hospitalized while you are using chloramphenicol so that appropriate lab work can be performed.


Common side effects include bone marrow suppression, nausea, and diarrhea. The bone marrow suppression may result in death. To reduce the risk of side effects treatment duration should be as short as possible. People with liver or kidney problems may need lower doses. In young children a condition known as gray baby syndrome may occur which results in a swollen stomach and low blood pressure. Its use near the end of pregnancy and during breastfeeding is typically not recommended. Chloramphenicol is a broad-spectrum antibioticthat typically stops bacterial growth by stopping the production of proteins.


None are known.

Other names

Brand names: Chloromycetin, Chloromycetin Sodium Succinate, Chloracol




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