Chloramphenicol-Uses,Precautions,Dosages And Treatment


Chloramphenicol-Uses,Precautions,Dosages And Treatment.

Chloramphenicol (chloromycetin) is an antibiotic for certain severe infections. It is broad-spectrum antibiotic that fights a wide range of different bacteria, It is cheap but there are some dangers in using it. For this reason, its use must be very limited.

Chloramphenicol often comes in capsules of 250 mg, mixture 125 mg in 5 ml, injection 1000 mg per vial.



Chloramphenicol should be used only for typhoid and for very serious diarrhea or other infections that are not cured by sulfas, penicillin, tetracycline or ampicillin. For life-threatening illnesses such as :

  • Meningitis
  • Peritonitis
  • Deep gut wounds.
  • Septicemia
  • Severe children fever.

Chloramphenicol may be used when less dangerous medicines are not available.

Ampicillin usually works as well as or better than chloramphenicol and is much safer. Unfortunately, ampicillin is expensive. There are times when chloramphenicol must be used instead.



Chloramphenicol harms the blood of some persons, it is even more dangerous for newborn babies, especially premature babies. To newborn babies with serious infections, give ampicillin rather than chloramphenicol if this is at all possible.

As a rule, do not give chloramphenicol to babies under one month old. Take care not to give more than the recommended dose of chloramphenicol. For babies above one month old, the dose is very small.

Avoid long repeated use of chloramphenicol.



In treating typhoid, change from chloramphenicol to ampicillin as soon as the illness is under control. In regions where typhoid is known to be resistant to chloramphenicol, the entire treatment should be with ampicillin or co-trimoxazole.

Chloramphenicol taken by mouth often does more good than when it is injected and is less dangerous. Except in rare cases when the person cannot swallow, do not inject chloramphenicol.



50 to 100 mg/kg/day- capsule of 250 mg or a mixture of 125 mg in 5 ml. Give by mouth four times in a day and each of the doses should be given following the directive below :

  • Adult : 500 to 750 mg (2 to 3 capsules). For typhoid, peritonitis and for other dangerous infections higher dose should be given (3 capsules 4 times a day making it 12 capsules a day).


  • Children between 8 to 12 years : 250 mg (1 capsule or 2 teaspoons of mixture).


  • Children between 3 to 7 years : 125 mg (½ capsule or 1 teaspoon).


  • Babies between one month to two years : Give 12 mg (½ ml of the mixture or 1/20 part of a capsule) for each kg of body weight. (This way, a 5kg baby would get 60 mg which is ½ teaspoon of mixture or ¼ capsule at each dose. With four doses, this means the 5kg baby will get one capsule or two teaspoons of mixture a day.


  • Newborn babies : As a general rule, do not use chloramphenicol. If there is no other choice, give 5 mg (¼ ml or 5 drops of the mixture) for each kg of body weight, give a 3kg baby 15 mg (15 drops of the mixture) four times a day or about ¼ capsule a day. Do not give more.


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