Last edited 02/2021 and last reviewed 02/2021

Neomycin is an antibiotic that is indicated for:

  • bowel sterilisation prior to surgery - too toxic for parenteral administration

N.B. Small amounts may be absorbed by patients with hepatic impairment and ototoxicity may result, especially if there is concomitant uraemia.


  • increase dose interval in renal impairment. Also, if the impairment is severe, the dose should be reduced.
  • beware drug interactions - see current issue of BNF


  • pregnancy
  • myasthenia Gravis - aminoglycosides may impair neuromuscular transmission; indeed large doses given during surgery may be responsible for a transient myasthenic syndrome


  • vestibular damage
  • reversible nephrotoxicity

N.B. Both vestibular and renal toxicity are dose related and occur most often in the elderly and in those with renal impairment.

  • hypomagnesaemia in prolonged therapy
  • pseudomembranous colitis

Route of administration;

  • Oral: - tablets - elixir

The summary of product characteristics should be consulted before prescribing this drug.