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What Is Kanamycin Sulfate?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Kanamycin sulfate is a prescription antibiotic used to treat certain types of bacterial infections. This drug is normally administered by a health care professional in the form of an injection, although oral capsules are also available. Nausea, dizziness, and headaches are among the most frequently reported side effects of kanamycin sulfate and often disappear as the body adjusts to the medication. More serious side effects, such as seizures or kidney damage, may occur, and allergic reactions are possible when taking this drug. Specific questions or concerns about kanamycin sulfate should be addressed with a doctor or pharmacist.

The treatment of intestinal infections caused by bacteria is the most common use of kanamycin sulfate, although this medication may also be prescribed to treat other types of bacterial infections. This is a strong antibiotic and is not designed to be used for extended amounts of time due to increased risks of serious complications. Those who have compromised renal function or are on dialysis are not usually candidates for this type of antibiotic.

Mild to moderate nausea is a common side effect of kanamycin sulfate and may be less severe when taken with food or milk. Persistent nausea that results in vomiting or loss of appetite may be treated with additional medications. Caution should be used when performing tasks that require focus or concentration, and dizziness or drowsiness may occur when using this drug. Headaches are considered a normal side effect, although sudden or severe headaches should be reported to a doctor right away.

Patients who have been diagnosed with epilepsy or other seizure disorders may experience a worsening of seizure activity when taking kanamycin sulfate. Seizures may also develop among those with no prior history of this type of disorder. Vision problems, ringing in the ears, and muscle cramps or tremors are additional side effects that should be evaluated by the prescribing physician.

Permanent kidney damage may occur as a result of using kanamycin sulfate. This side effect is most pronounced among those who are on dialysis or have been diagnosed with impaired kidney function, although healthy kidneys can suffer permanent damage as well. Symptoms such as dark or bloody urine and changes in urinary frequency or volume may indicate problems with the kidneys. Allergic reactions to this medication are relatively uncommon but may include facial swelling, rashes, or difficulty breathing. Some of these reactions can be fatal, so emergency medical attention is required any time an allergic reaction is suspected.

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