Maxitrol eye drops and ointment both contain three active ingredients, dexamethasone, neomycin and polymyxin B. Dexamethasone belongs to a group of medicines known as corticosteroids that are used for reducing inflammation. Neomycin and polymyxin B are antibiotics that are included in these drops to prevent infections with bacteria.

What is it used for?

  • Short-term treatment of inflammatory eye conditions, when prevention of bacterial infection is also required.

How does it work?

  • Maxitrol eye drops and ointment both contain three active ingredients, dexamethasone, neomycin and polymyxin B. Dexamethasone belongs to a group of medicines known as corticosteroids that are used for reducing inflammation. Neomycin and polymyxin B are antibiotics that are included in these drops to prevent infections with bacteria.
  • Corticosteroids are hormones produced naturally by the adrenal glands that have many important functions, including control of inflammatory responses. Dexamethasone is a synthetic corticosteroid that can be administered into the eyes to decrease inflammation.
  • Eye inflammation can occur as a result of allergies, or from irritation or trauma to the eye, for instance during eye surgery.
It is caused by the release of substances that are important in the immune system. These substances cause blood vessels to widen, resulting in the affected area becoming red, swollen and painful. Corticosteroids work by acting within cells to decrease the release of these substances in a particular area, thereby reducing swelling and redness.
  • Neomycin belongs to a group of antibiotics called aminoglycosides. These antibiotics have the ability to kill a wide variety of bacteria. Neomycin works by affecting the production of certain proteins by bacteria. These proteins are necessary for the bacteria's survival. Neomycin causes the bacteria to produce abnormal and faulty proteins, which ultimately kills the bacteria.
  • Polymixin B sulphate belongs to a class of antibiotics called polymyxins. They destroy bacteria by interfering with the function of part of the bacteria's cell wall. This results in leaking of the contents of the cell leading the to death of the bacteria.
  • The combination of these medicines is applied directly into the eye to reduce inflammation and prevent infection.
  • How do I use it?

    • Wash your hands before using the eye drops or ointment.
    • Follow these links for advice on using eye drops and using eye ointment.
    • It is important to follow the instructions given by your doctor. If using the drops, the usual dose is one or two drops into the affected eye(s) up to six times a day. If using the ointment it should usually be applied into the affected eye(s) three to four times a day. Your doctor may prescribe both the eye drops and the ointment; if this is the case the drops should be used during the day and the ointment used just before going to bed at night.
    • When using the eye drops or ointment you should take care to not touch the dropper tip to any surface, or to your eye, in order to avoid contaminating the medicine with germs that could cause eye infections.
    • If you wear soft contact lenses you should remove them before putting in these drops. Do not put your lenses back in for 15 minutes after using the drops. This is because the preservative in the eye drops may be absorbed by soft contact lenses and could discolour the lenses or cause eye irritation. You should not wear contact lenses if you are using the eye ointment. If you have an eye infection or a sore inflamed eye it is best not to wear contact lenses anyway.
    • Continue using the medicine for as long as your doctor has advised. However, corticosteroid eye drops/ointment should not normally be used for longer than one week unless you are being regularly monitored by an eye specialist with regular checks of the pressure in your eyeball.

    Use with caution in

    People who have previously had an allergic reaction to similar antibiotics, eg kanamycin, gentamicin, framycetin, tobramycin.

    Not to be used in

    • People with a fungal or viral infection of the eye (s).
    • People with a tuberculosis infection affecting the eye(s).
    • This medicine should not be used to treat a red eye that has not been diagnosed by a doctor, as inappropriate use can cause blindness.
    • This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.

    If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

    Pregnancy and breastfeeding

    Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.

    • The safety of this medicine for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been established. The medicine may be absorbed into the bloodstream after application into the eye and can cross the placenta and pass into breast milk. It is not recommended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding unless the potential benefits to the mother outweigh any possible risks to the baby. Consult your doctor for further advice.
    • If your doctor does ask you to use these eye drops while you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you can minimise the amount of medicine that is absorbed into your bloodstream and thus passes to your baby, by pressing on your tear duct while putting in the drops, and for a few minutes after. The tear duct is at the corner of the eye closest to your nose.

    Side effects

    Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.

    Uncommon (affect between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 people)

    • Irritation, itching, or discomfort of the eye(s).
    • Increased pressure within the eye.
    • Inflammation of the surface of the eye (keratitis).

    Frequency unknown

    • Blurred vision.
    • Sensitivity to bright light.
    • Sensation of something in the eye(s).
    • Watery eye(s).
    • Swelling and pain of the eye(s).
    • Dilated pupils.
    • Drooping of the eyelid(s).
    • Red eye(s) due to increased blood supply (hyperaemia).
    • Headache.

    Intensive or prolonged application of corticosteroids to the eye may lead to thinning of the cornea (front part of the eyeball), glaucoma, damage to the optic nerve, development of eye infections, or the formation of cataracts. Your eye specialist will want you to have regular eye check-ups to monitor for these types of side effects if you use this medicine for longer than a week.
    The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.

    For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.

    How can this medicine affect other medicines?

    • No specific studies have been performed by the manufacturer to determine if this medicine interacts with any other. It is not known how much, if any, of this medicine is absorbed into the bloodstream after being administered into the eye, which makes it difficult to predict interactions that may occur. You should tell your doctor or pharmacist that you are using this medicine before using any others.
    • If you are using more than one type of eye drop you should administer them at least five minutes apart, to prevent the subsequent drops washing away the first. Use eye gels or ointments last.



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