Gentamicin ear drops (Genticin)

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Gentamicin ear drops are used to prevent or treat ear infections.

Unless you have been told otherwise, use 2 or 3 drops three or four times daily and at night.

Throw the bottle away after your treatment has finished, even if there is some liquid left.

Type of medicineAnti-infective ear drops
Used forPrevention or treatment of ear infections in adults and children
Also calledGenticin®; Gentisone HC® (gentamicin combined with hydrocortisone)
Available asDrops

Ear drops containing gentamicin are used to treat ear infections. The drops kill the bacteria which are causing the infection. If the ear is swollen as well as infected (as in otitis externa, for example), your doctor may prescribe ear drops which also contain hydrocortisone. These drops will reduce the inflammation as well as treat the infection.

Gentamicin ear drops are also prescribed to prevent an infection following an ear injury or surgery.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you (or your child) start using gentamicin drops, it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you have a perforated (burst) eardrum.
  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to gentamicin, to any other antibiotic or to any other ear drops.
  • If you have a condition called myasthenia gravis. This is a condition which causes muscle weakness.
  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.

Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the drops, and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from using them.

  1. Wash your hands well before you begin.
  2. Clean your ear with warm water and pat it dry.
  3. Remove the cap from the bottle of ear drops.
  4. Lie down, or tilt your head a little, so that the affected ear is facing upwards.
  5. Gently pull your earlobe to straighten the ear canal.
  6. Hold the container upside down near to the ear. Try not to touch the inside of your ear as you do this.
  7. Apply enough pressure to the container to release two or three drops.
  8. Keep your ear facing upwards for a few minutes to allow the solution to come into contact with the affected area.
  9. Repeat the process in your other ear if you have been asked to use the drops in both ears.
  10. Replace the cap.
  11. Wash your hands again.
  • Use the drops exactly as you have been advised by your doctor. It is likely that your doctor will recommend you use the drops three or four times during the day, and also at night. Try not to miss any doses. If you forget to put the drops in on time, do it as soon as you remember.
  • Do not try to clean inside your ear with cotton buds. If you stick buds or other objects into your ear they can damage and irritate the inflamed skin, and make things worse. Just wipe the outside of your ear with a clean cloth or tissue if any discharge appears.
  • You will be prescribed a short course of treatment (usually no more than 7-10 days). If you feel your infection is no better after a week or so, make another appointment to see your doctor for advice.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Possible side-effects of gentamicin ear drops
What can I do if I experience this?
Mild irritation, burning or stingingIf this continues or becomes severe, speak with your doctor

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to these drops, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
  • If there is any preparation left in the container after you have finished your course of treatment, do not keep it to use later. Ear drops must not be used if the bottle has been opened for longer than four weeks.

Never use more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that someone has swallowed some of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

If you buy any medicines check with a pharmacist that they are safe to use with your other medicines.

If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are using.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Never keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Adrian Bonsall
Document ID:
3666 (v23)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member

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