Medicines & Supplements A to Z > Chloramphenicol


Last updated on 06/07/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Chloramphenicol


BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Chlor-Oph 可利安, Chlorsig, Venicol

DRUG CLASS: Antibiotics

SUB CLASS: Amphenicols

USED FOR: Bacterial eye infections, outer ear infections

– 0.5% (eye/ear drops)
– 1% (eye ointment)

What is Chloramphenicol for?

Chloramphenicol belongs to a class of medications called amphenicol antibiotics. It kills bacteria by inhibiting protein synthesis in bacterial cells. Chloramphenicol is mainly used to treat eye and ear infections.

How to use it?

Chloramphenicol is available as eye drops, eye ointment and ear drops that can be used in the eye or the outer ear. Wash your hands before and after applying this medication.

Bacterial eye infections
Eye drops: Apply 1 drop every 2 hours; for less severe infections, 3-4 times daily is generally sufficient. Frequency should be reduced as infection is controlled and continues for 48 hours after healing.
Eye ointment: Apply at bedtime if eye drops are used during the day. If eye ointment is used alone, apply 3-4 times daily.

Otitis externa (outer ear infections)
Ear drops: Apply 2-3 drops 2-3 times daily.

What are the side effects of Chloramphenicol?

Common side effects of Chloramphenicol include eye discomfort and allergic skin reactions.

Who should not take Chloramphenicol?

– People allergic to Chloramphenicol or any component of the formulation.
– Patients with a perforated tympanic membrane.

Pharmacist Tips:

– You must complete the entire course of this antibiotic, or else, the infection will not be properly controlled.
– Since Chloramphenicol is indicated for infection, remember to clean your hands before applying the cream or using eye/ear products.
– Applying the medication to the eye may cause blurred vision. If affected, do not drive or operate machinery.

Common dosing schedule:
Your doctor will advise you on the frequency of application depending on your infection.

Some common medications Chloramphenicol may interact with:
Warfarin and other anticoagulants
– Anticonvulsants, e.g. Phenobarbital, Phenytoin, Sodium Valproate

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Chloramphenicol in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Chloramphenicol is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Chloramphenicol in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.