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What Is Inhaled Tobramycin?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Inhaled tobramycin is a prescription antibiotic that is inhaled into the lungs to treat infections associated with cystic fibrosis. This medication is designed to be inhaled through a device known as a nebulizer, and each treatment typically takes about 15 minutes. Some of the most common side effects associated with the use of inhaled tobramycin include stuffy nose, ringing in the ears, and dizziness. More serious side effects that should be reported to a doctor right away include extreme drowsiness, muscle weakness, and difficulty breathing. Specific questions or concerns about inhaled tobramycin should be discussed with a doctor or pharmacist.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that causes an abnormal amount of thick mucus to develop inside the lungs, making breathing difficult. Frequent lung infections are also common among those with this disease. A doctor may prescribe inhaled tobramycin along with other medications to treat these potentially fatal lung infections. A device known as a nebulizer is used so that the medication can be delivered through a fine mist into the lungs. The prescribing physician will provide the patient or caregiver with detailed instructions concerning the proper use of the nebulizer.

While many people are able to use inhaled tobramycin without experiencing significant side effects, any new or bothersome symptoms that develop after beginning treatment with this medication should be reported to a doctor for further evaluation. Some of the most frequently reported side effects include an unpleasant taste in the mouth, voice changes, and ringing in the ears. Runny nose, sneezing, and nasal congestion may also occur as a result of this medication. Mucus discoloration and the development of a bloody nose are also potential side effects of inhaled tobramycin.

Serious side effects from using inhaled tobramycin are relatively rare but should be reported to a medical professional right away. These side effects may include muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, and dizziness. A severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis may involve chest pain, facial swelling, and loss of consciousness. This type of reaction can prove fatal within a matter of minutes and requires emergency medical treatment. Any potential signs of an allergy should be reported to a doctor in order to receive individualized medical advice.

Before using inhaled tobramycin, the doctor should be notified of any over-the-counter, prescription, or herbal medications being taken. Some drugs do not work well when combined and may lead to severe complications. Patients with some medical conditions, such as Parkinson's disease or impaired renal function, may not be able to safely use this medication.

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