What Is Paromomycin?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 01 October 2019
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Paromomycin is a medication that treats infections of the intestine, especially those caused by certain amoebae and bacteria. It has some other limited uses for treatment. The drug is available in an oral tablet form, but it can also be administered by injection. Some patients are not good candidates for paromomycin, due to other conditions or medical status. Additionally, this medicine can interact with certain drugs and may cause minor or severe side effects.

Infections with Entamoeba histolytica, Cryptosporidium, and Leishmania may cause severe intestinal illness in certain individuals. Some people recover quickly from these infections, but others, especially those with compromised immune systems, require antibacterial treatment. Drugs like paromomycin often effectively treat these illnesses. This medication is also part of the therapy to address hepatic coma, which results from severe liver disease.

When patients are able to take oral medications, they’ll ordinarily receive a prescription for paromomycin tablets. Some individuals, particularly those in a hepatic coma or those with extreme vomiting, can’t swallow pills or keep them down. In these cases, an injection of the medication could start the healing process.

Though paromomycin is considered a useful drug, it isn’t appropriate for all individuals. Patients who have kidney or liver disease may require another medication or a dose adjustment. Given the indications for treatment, liver disease, which might cause hepatic coma, doesn’t rule out this drug.


The use of the medicine needs to be considered carefully in other populations. For example, pregnant and nursing women aren’t always encouraged to take this drug. They might only receive paromomycin if the benefits clearly outweighed the risks.

Prescriptions for this antibacterial also require consideration of other medications. The single most important drug interaction occurs between paromomycin and hormonal birth control. Women need to be advised of this risk so they can take other precautions while using the medicine. There are additional identified medicine interactions, though most are mild or moderate. To avoid any potential problems, patients should inform their doctors of all medications they use, including any herbal supplements or over-the-counter drugs.

The side effects associated with paromomycin are often minimal, though they can be uncomfortable. People may experience stomach upset in the form of nausea, vomiting or dizziness. A number of patients also report itchiness. These aren’t medically serious unless they become so severe that dehydration is likely to occur. Even at a low level, these adverse reactions may be difficult to tolerate, and patients are encouraged to report them to their physicians.

A few severe effects may occur with this medication. The most dangerous is allergy that causes anaphylactic shock. Symptoms of this condition, which require immediate medical attention, include hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, and tongue. Patients should also seek emergency medical help if they experience extreme dizziness, ringing in the ears, or significantly reduced urinary output.



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