What Is Gentamicin I?

Jacquelyn Gilchrist

Gentamicin I is a medication that is administered by injection or via an intravenous infusion, and is prescribed to treat a serious bacterial infection. It is an aminoglycoside antibiotic that halts the spread of bacteria in the body. Gentamicin I may be used for bacterial infections of the skin, joints, and urinary tract. Potentially dangerous complications may sometimes result from the use of this drug, so patients should discuss safety precautions with their doctors prior to use.

Gentamicin I may be administered intravenously.
Gentamicin I may be administered intravenously.

Often, the patient will go to a hospital or clinic to have a healthcare professional administer this drug. Others will be shown how to administer the injection at home. They will inject the solution into a muscle or hook up a bag of the solution to an intravenous line. The dosage schedule will vary, depending on the patient's specific condition, but it is often given every eight hours.

Gentamicin I may be used for bacterial infections of the urinary tract.
Gentamicin I may be used for bacterial infections of the urinary tract.

Certain precautions should be taken to ensure the patient's general health while using gentamicin I. Blood tests and kidney function checks may be periodically ordered during the treatment. Patients should consume plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, which may worsen certain side effects. Those who are hospitalized may receive fluids intravenously.

Patients who become dehydrated, those who are elderly, and those with a previous history of kidney problems are at a higher risk of complications from gentamicin I. These can include nerve damage and kidney problems, which can lead to difficulty with balance and permanent hearing loss. Some possible signs of complications can include a decrease in the amount of urine output, dizziness, and hearing loss, along with a ringing in the ears. Muscle twitching, numbness, and seizures may also be signs of possible nerve damage. Those who experience any of these serious side effects should seek immediate medical help.

Other possible side effects of gentamicin I that require medical care include abdominal cramps, watery diarrhea, and tingling of the skin. Those who receive gentamicin I via an intravenous infusion may notice skin reactions at the catheter site that may include irritation, warmth, and pain. These side effects, along with drainage, redness, and warmth may indicate an infection. Less severe side effects from this drug may include nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

Before using gentamicin I to treat a bacterial infection, patients must disclose their other medical conditions, medications, and supplements. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should inform their doctors. It may be contraindicated for use by those with myasthenia gravis, Parkinson's disease, and kidney disease. Gentamicin I may interact with other drugs, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), diuretics, and birth control pills.

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