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You are here: Home » eGM Resources » Health Information & Resources Portal|Home » RX Drug List (listed alphabetically) » Drug Reference (T's) » Tobramycin



Patients treated with Nebcin (Tobramycin for Injection, USP) and other aminoglycosides should be under close clinical observation, because these drugs have an inherent potential for causing ototoxicity and nephrotoxicity.

Neurotoxicity, manifested as both auditory and vestibular ototoxicity, can occur. The auditory changes are irreversible, are usually bilateral, and may be partial or total. Eighth-nerve impairment and nephrotoxicity may develop, primarily in patients having preexisting renal damage and in those with normal renal function to whom aminoglycosides are administered for longer periods or in higher doses than those recommended. Other manifestations of neurotoxicity may include numbness, skin tingling, muscle twitching, and convulsions. The risk of aminoglycoside-induced hearing loss increases with the degree of exposure to either high peak or high trough serum concentrations. Patients who develop cochlear damage may not have symptoms during therapy to warn them of  eighth- nerve toxicity, and partial or total irreversible bilateral deafness may continue to develop after the drug has been discontinued. 

Rarely, nephrotoxicity may not become apparent until the first few days after cessation of therapy. Aminoglycoside-induced nephrotoxicity usually is reversible.

Renal and eighth-nerve function should be closely monitored in patients with known or suspected renal impairment and also in those whose renal function is initially normal but who develop signs of renal dysfunction during therapy. Peak and trough serum concentrations of aminoglycosides should be monitored periodically during therapy to assure adequate levels and to avoid potentially toxic levels. Prolonged serum concentrations above12 mcg/ mL should be avoided. Rising trough levels (above 2 mcg/ mL)  may indicate tissue accumulation. Such accumulation, excessive peak concentrations, advanced age, and cumulative dose may contribute to ototoxicity and nephrotoxicity (see PRECAUTIONS). Urine should be examined for decreased specific gravity and increased excretion of protein, cells, and casts. Blood urea nitrogen, serum creatinine, and creatinine clearance should be  measured periodically. When feasible, it is recommended that serial audiograms be obtained in patients old enough to be tested, particularly high-risk patients. Evidence of impairment of renal, vestibular, or auditory function requires discontinuation of the drug or dosage adjustment.

Nebcin should be used with caution in premature and neonatal infants because of their renal immaturity and the resulting prolongation of serum half-life of the drug.

Concurrent and sequential use of other neurotoxic and/or nephrotoxic antibiotics, particularly other aminoglycosides (e.g., amikacin, streptomycin, neomycin, kanamycin, gentamicin, and paromomycin), cephaloridine,  viomycin, polymyxin B, colistin, cisplatin, and vancomycin, should be avoided. Other factors that may increase patient risk are advanced age and dehydration.

Aminoglycosides should not be given concurrently with potent diuretics, such as ethacrynic acid and furosemide. Some diuretics themselves cause ototoxicity, and intravenously administered diuretics enhance aminoglycoside toxicity by altering antibiotic concentrations in serum and tissue.

Aminoglycosides can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman (see PRECAUTIONS).

Tobramycin sulfate, a water-soluble antibiotic of the aminoglycoside group, is derived from the actinomycete Streptomyces tenebrarius. Nebcin, Sterile, is supplied as a sterile dry powder and is intended for reconstitution with 30 mL of Sterile Water for Injection, USP. Sulfuric acid and/or sodium hydroxide may have been added during manufacture to adjust the pH. Each vial contains 1,200 mg of tobramycin activity. After dilution, the solution will contain 40 mg of tobramycin per mL. The product contains no preservative or sodium bisulfite.

Tobramycin sulfate is O-3-amino-3-deoxy-a-D-glucopyranosyl(1>4)-O-[2,6-diamino-2,3,6-trideoxy-a-D-ribo-hexopyranosyl-(1>6)]-2-deoxy-L-streptamine, sulfate (2:5)(salt) and has the molecular formula (C18 H37N5O9)25 H2SO4. The molecular weight is 1425.45.

The pharmacy bulk package of Nebcin is a sterile preparation for parenteral use that contains multiple single doses. It is intended for use in a pharmacy admixture program. Package use is restricted to the preparation of admixtures for intravenous infusion or to the filling of empty sterile syringes for intravenous injections for patients with individualized dosing requirements.

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