Generic name: kanamycin (kan-a-MYE-sin)
Drug class: Aminoglycosides
Therapy has been associated with potential neurotoxicity, ototoxicity, and nephrotoxicity. Patients with impaired renal function, advanced age, dehydration, and those who receive high dosage or prolonged therapy are at an increased risk of toxicity. Monitor renal and auditory function during therapy and discontinue therapy or adjust dose if there is evidence of ototoxicity or nephrotoxicity. Aminoglycoside-induced ototoxicity is usually irreversible. Serum concentrations of aminoglycosides should be monitored when feasible to assure adequate levels and to avoid potentially toxic levels. Neuromuscular blockade and respiratory paralysis have also been reported following administration. Concurrent use of other potentially neurotoxic or nephrotoxic agents, or potent diuretics should be avoided .
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Chemical Class: Aminoglycoside
Uses for kanamycin
Kanamycin injection is used to treat serious bacterial infections in many different parts of the body. Kanamycin is for short-term use only (usually 7 to 10 days).
Kanamycin belongs to the class of medicines known as aminoglycoside antibiotics. It works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth. However, kanamycin will not work for colds, flu, or other virus infections.
Kanamycin injection is usually used for serious bacterial infections for which other medicines may not work. However, it may also cause some serious side effects, including damage to your hearing, sense of balance, and kidneys. These side effects may be more likely to occur in elderly patients and newborn infants. You and your doctor should talk about the benefit of kanamycin as the risks.
Kanamycin is to be administered only by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor.
Before using kanamycin
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For kanamycin, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to kanamycin or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of kanamycin injection in children. However, kanamycin should be used with caution in premature and newborn infants.
No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of kanamycin injection in geriatric patients. However, elderly patients are more likely to have kidney problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving kanamycin injection.
Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving kanamycin, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using kanamycin with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using kanamycin with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Ascorbic Acid
- Cholera Vaccine, Live
- Colistimethate Sodium
- Ethacrynic Acid
Using kanamycin with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of kanamycin. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Asthma or
- Sulfite allergy, history of—Kanamycin contains sodium bisulfite which may cause an allergic reaction in patients with these conditions.
- Kidney disease, severe or
- Muscle problems (e.g., infant botulism) or
- Myasthenia gravis (severe muscle weakness) or
- Nerve problems or
- Parkinson's disease—Use with caution. May make these condition worse.
- Kidney disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of kanamycin from the body.
Proper use of kanamycin
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you kanamycin. Kanamycin is given as a shot into a muscle or into a vein.
To help clear up your infection completely, keep using kanamycin for the full time of treatment, even if you begin to feel better after a few days. Also, kanamycin works best when there is a constant amount in the blood. To help keep the amount constant, you must receive kanamycin on a regular schedule.
To keep your kidneys working well and help prevent kidney problems, drink extra fluids so you will pass more urine while you or your child are receiving kanamycin.
Precautions while using kanamycin
Your doctor will check your progress closely while you or your child are receiving kanamycin. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you or your child should continue to receive it. Blood, urine, hearing, and nerve tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
If your or your child's symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
Using kanamycin while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
Kanamycin may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you or your child have itching; hives; hoarseness; shortness of breath; trouble breathing; trouble swallowing; or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth after you receive kanamycin.
Stop using kanamycin and check with your doctor right away if you or your child have sudden decrease in hearing or loss of hearing, which may be accompanied by dizziness and ringing in the ears. Tell your doctor if you or your child have dizziness or lightheadedness; feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings; or sensation of spinning. These may be symptoms of a damage to your hearing or sense of balance.
Tell your doctor right away if you have trouble using your muscles or trouble breathing while receiving kanamycin.
Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have blood in the urine, change in frequency of urination or amount of urine, difficulty with breathing, drowsiness, increased thirst, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, swelling of feet or lower legs, or weakness. These may be symptoms of a serious kidney problem.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Kanamycin side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Incidence not known
- black, tarry stools
- bloody or cloudy urine
- bluish lips or skin
- blurred vision
- burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
- chest pain
- continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
- decreased urine output
- difficulty with breathing
- difficulty with moving
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- dry mouth
- feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
- feeling of fullness in the ears
- loss of balance
- loss or change in hearing
- muscle pain or stiffness
- muscle twitching
- not breathing
- pain in lower back or side
- pain in the joints
- painful or difficult urination
- pale skin
- rapid weight gain
- sensation of spinning
- shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
- swelling of the face, ankles, or hands
- swollen glands
- trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
- trouble with hearing
- troubled breathing with exertion
- uncontrolled eye movements
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Incidence not known
- increased amount of gas
- light-colored, frothy, or fatty-appearing stools
- skin rash
- sudden loss of weight
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.