What Are the Most Common Tobramycin Side Effects?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 25 October 2019
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Tobramycin is a prescription antibiotic that is available in the form of injections, ophthalmic preparations, or as an inhaled medication. Some of the most commonly reported tobramycin side effects associated with the injectible form of this medication include pain, redness, and swelling at the site of the injection. The inhaled version of tobramycin may cause fever, headaches, or sore throat. Ophthalmic tobramycin side effects often involve eye irritation or blurred vision. More serious side effects are possible, and a doctor should be consulted with any specific questions or concerns.

Temporary redness, swelling, and discomfort at the injection site are common tobramycin side effects. If these symptoms worsen or if the skin begins to peel or blister, further medical evaluation is warranted. The injectible form of this medication may also lead to intestinal discomfort or diarrhea. Potentially serious neurological symptoms that should be reported to a doctor immediately include muscle twitching, numbness or tingling involving the extremities, and seizures. Long-term use of this medication may cause yeast infections involving the mouth or genitals.

Eye drops containing tobramycin may cause a burning or stinging sensation and can sometimes result in temporary visual disturbances. Itching or swelling of the eye may sometimes develop, and a medical professional should be consulted if the swelling becomes severe enough that the eye cannot be opened. Intense pain that develops after the administration of the eye drops should be evaluated as well.


When used in the form of an inhaled medication, tobramycin side effects may cause a slight worsening of respiratory symptoms such as coughing or wheezing. Sore throat, fever, and headaches are also potential side effects of this drug. Most of these side effects are temporary and disappear within a few minutes or hours following usage. Chest pain, shortness of breath, or a dramatic increase of other symptoms may indicate the development of serious complications and should be reported to the prescribing physician.

A potentially fatal type of allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis is perhaps the most serious of all the possible tobramycin side effects. This reaction can occur regardless of the way the drug is packaged and can affect a patient suddenly, even if the medication has been safely used in the past. Facial swelling, hives, and loss of consciousness are common anaphylactic symptoms and require emergency medical attention. If the throat and tongue swell dramatically, the oxygen supply to the brain may be interrupted, leading to brain damage or death.


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