Chloramphenicol is, without doubt, the most commonly used antibiotic conjunctivitis medication in the UK. And it is not without reason. This branded eye drop medicine, developed and marketed by Mercury Pharma pharmaceutical treatment has been proven to be highly adept at tackling bacterial infections of the eye causing the typical conjunctivitis symptoms. Chloramphenicol can be obtain both in the form of eye drops and as an ophthalmic ointment that is directly applied to the affected eye. Studies have confirmed that this medication can achieve the desired results, namely, relief from conjunctivitis symptoms, in as little as 24 hours.

What’s on this page?

Do I need conjunctivitis treatment?

Conjunctivitis is not a serious condition and can be treated fairly easily in a couple of different ways, depending on its exact cause. In most cases, the symptoms of conjunctivitis can be tracked to one of the three main causes – irritation, allergic reaction or a bacterial infection. Conjunctivitis caused by irritation will require no treatment, of course, and will quickly disappear on its own. Allergic conjunctivitis can be easily treated, usually with antihistamines, but in most cases, it will diminish in intensity and disappear on its own as soon as the person affected gets away from the allergens.

However, in case of a bacterial infection, the treatment is usually necessary, not because of the conjunctivitis itself, but because of the risk of the bacterial infection spreading and causing further complications. When treated timely, bacterial conjunctivitis can be easily and successfully treated with medications such as chloramphenicol or Minims. The doctor will usually recommend this, regardless of the severity of symptoms, if the bacterial infection is identified as a root cause of conjunctivitis.

How can Chloramphenicol treat conjunctivitis?

Chloramphenicol is officially classified as a broad-spectrum antibiotic. This means that its active ingredient can be successfully used against a wide array of bacterial strains due to its mechanism of action. Once introduced into the organism, Chloramphenicol will successfully eliminate the bacteria’s capacity to grow by inhibiting its production of essential nutrients, more specifically, a protein that is used by the bacterial cells during replication process. This will not only stop the infection from spreading, but also compromise the integrity of the cellular walls, making the remaining bacteria an easy target for the body’s own immune system that can then easily clear the infection.

Can I buy Chloramphenicol online in the UK?

Yes, it is possible to buy Chloramphenicol online, however, you should keep in mind that this medicine is an antibiotic and as such, it can be legally obtained in the UK only with a valid prescription, issued by a certified medical professional. On top of this, as Chloramphenicol can successfully treat only those cases of conjunctivitis caused by a bacterial infection, and will have no effect in other instances, it is important that the doctor is completely confident about the cause of the problem prior to issuing a prescription.

This is also the reason why a significant number of online clinics operating within the UK will not accept to issue a prescription to those people who are taking Chloramphenicol for the first time and will instead advise them to meet the doctor in person. However, if you are looking to simply renew your prescription, you can do so fairly easily from the comfort of your own home. Keep in mind that the doctor will still ask you to fill in a customised medical questionnaire, so he can confirm your suitability for Chloramphenicol treatment before having the medicine sent to the address you provided.

How is Chloramphenicol used?

Despite being primarily known for its eye drops form, Chloramphenicol can also be bought as an ophthalmic ointment. While the two forms are largely similar to each other in terms of how they are intended to be used, there are some slight differences worth mentioning and we will discuss them here.

However, you should keep in mind that what follows is just a brief summary for each product and cannot be used as a substitute from the doctor’s advice, nor the official patient information leaflet that is issued within every pack of Chloramphenicol. And before getting into specifics, we would also like to just quickly mention some central points which are true for both versions of the medicine:

  • Always use exactly as prescribed
  • Never exceed the prescribed dose
  • If there are no improvements after 48 hours of use, contact your doctor

How to use Chloramphenicol eye drops?

  • Apply two drops to the affected eye every three hours
  • If your conjunctivitis is especially severe, the doctor might recommend even higher dose
  • First signs of improvement should be noticeable within 24 hours of use
  • Always wash your hands before applying the eye drops
  • Avoid touching or breathing on the tip of the bottle
  • Lean your head backwards
  • Hold the tip of the bottle close to the eye while avoiding direct contact
  • Apply two drops into the eye
  • Replace the cap following application while avoiding touching it with fingers

How to use Chloramphenicol ophthalmic ointment?

  • The dose is usually not too precise, it involves a small amount that should be applied up to four times per day
  • For some, it might be easier to get someone else to apply the ointment
  • Wash your hands before use
  • Try to avoid touching the tip of the tube after opening
  • Tilt your head back and look up while gently pulling down the lower eyelid
  • This should expose the lower part of the eyeball
  • This is the area where Chloramphenicol should be applied
  • The dose is usually described as roughly 1cm along the inner eyelid

What are Chloramphenicol side effects?

Prior to commencing treatment, you should get familiar with the side effects associated with the use of this medicine. The best way to do this is contact your doctor directly or refer to the official patient information leaflet that you can find within your pack of Chloramphenicol. In either way, you should be able to get detailed and reliable information about what could go wrong when using this medication and how to act in that case.

While Chloramphenicol is a rather safe medication, it has been known to cause certain side effects in those especially susceptible to them. There are even some scenarios when immediate medical attention may be necessary. This can be the case if you notice any of the following:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Wheezing
  • Fever
  • Swelling of the face
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the lips or tongue
  • Changes in blood cell levels
  • Easily bruising
  • Immune system problems

If you notice sharp pain, prolonged irritation, swelling or increased sensitivity to light following administration of Chloramphenicol, you should wash the eye for 15 minutes and immediately contact your doctor or the local emergency service.