Chloramphenicol (Brochlor eye drops and ointment)

How does it work?

Brochlor eye drops and eye ointment both contain the active ingredient chloramphenicol, which is a type of medicine called an antibiotic. Antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria. (NB. Chloramphenicol eye drops and ointment are also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.)

Chloramphenicol is known as a broad-spectrum antibiotic, which means it is effective against infections caused by a wide variety of bacteria.

Chloramphenicol works by preventing bacteria from producing proteins that are essential to them. Without these proteins the bacteria cannot grow, replicate and increase in numbers. Chloramphenicol therefore controls the numbers of bacteria causing an infection, and the remaining bacteria die or are killed by the body's immune system. This treats the infection.

Chloramphenicol is administered into the eye to treat a type of eye infection called bacterial conjunctivitis, which can be caused by various types of bacteria. Putting the medicine directly into the eye allows the chloramphenicol to act directly on the bacteria that are causing the infection.

What is it used for?

  • Inflammation of the eye caused by a bacterial infection (bacterial conjunctivitis).

How do you use it?

A five day course of treatment with Brochlor should be used to treat bacterial conjunctivitis. If you are just using the drops, one drop should be administered into the infected eye every two hours for the first two days, then every four hours for the next three days. Only use the drops during waking hours. If you are just using the ointment, a strip of ointment approximately 1cm in length should be applied to the inside of the eyelid three to four times a day for five days.

Brochlor eye drops and eye ointment can also be used together to treat bacterial conjunctivitis. If you are using both products, the drops should be used during the day as described above, and the ointment applied just before going to bed. The course of treatment is five days.

  • Do not use for longer than five days without consulting your doctor.
  • You should consult your doctor if symptoms have not improved within two days of using this medicine, or if you get another eye infection.
  • Seek medical advice immediately if your symptoms get worse at any point during treatment.
  • Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, it is important that you finish the five day course of this antibiotic, even if it seems the infection has cleared up. Stopping the course early increases the chance that the infection will come back and that the bacteria will grow resistant to the antibiotic.
  • When using the eye drops or ointment you should take care to not touch the dropper or tube tip to any surface, or to your eye, in order to avoid contaminating the medicine.
  • Brochlor eye drops should be stored in a refrigerator at 2° to 8°C. Keep out of the reach of children. Brochlor eye ointment does not need to be refrigerated.


  • You should consult a doctor before using this medicine if you, or a child you are treating, have disturbed vision, severe pain within the eye, abnormal sensitivity of the eyes to light, eye inflammation associated with a rash on the scalp or face, an eye injury, or you suspect there is something in the eye. You should also consult a doctor if the eye looks cloudy, the pupil looks unusual, you have recently suffered from conjunctivitis, you suffer from glaucoma or dry eye syndrome, you have had eye surgery or laser treatment in the last six months, you wear contact lenses, or you are currently using other eye drops or eye ointment.
  • This medicine is for use in the eye only and must not be taken by mouth.
  • The eye drops and ointment may cause your vision to blur temporarily after you have applied them into your eye. Do not drive or operate machinery until this has worn off.
  • You should not wear contact lenses while you are using Brochlor. Wearing contact lenses when you have an eye infection can aggravate the condition. You should not wear your contact lenses for 24 hours after you have finished the course of this medicine.
  • Carefully dispose of any remaining eye drops or ointment after the five day course of treatment is completed. Do not save the medicine to use again for future infections, as it is likely to be contaminated with bacteria.

Not to be used in

  • Children under two years of age.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding.
  • People with a personal or family history of abnormalities in the numbers of blood cells in the blood (blood dyscrasias, including aplastic anaemia).
  • People who have had problems with their blood cells after previous use of chloramphenicol.

This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or 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 during pregnancy has not been established. It should not be used by pregnant women. Seek medical advice from your doctor.
  • This medicine may pass into breast milk. It should not be used by women who are breastfeeding. Seek medical advice from your doctor.

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 does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.

  • Burning or stinging sensation.
  • Allergic reactions.

The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug'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?

It is important to tell your pharmacist what medicines you are already using, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any new medicines while using this one, to ensure that the combination is safe.

If you are using any other eye drops or ointments you should consult your doctor before using this medicine.

If you are using more than one type of eye drop you should administer them at least five minutes apart, to prevent the second drop washing away the first. Use eye gels or ointments last.

Other medicines containing the same active ingredient

Chloromycetin Golden eye antibiotic Minims chloramphenicol
Optrex infected eyes

Chloramphenicol eye drops and ointment are also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.