What Is Gentamicin Sulfate?


Gentamicin sulfate is a potent antibiotic. It occurs as white to buff powder and is soluble in water but insoluble in non-polar solvents like alcohol and ether. Gentamicin sulfate is extremely useful drug to treat infections caused by aerobic and gram negative bacteria like Enterobacter, Acinetobacter, and pseudomonas. It can also be administered to those patients who have developed infections caused by mycobacteria (i.e. rod-shaped bacteria causing diseases including tuberculosis). Gentamicin sulfate is a powerful medicine, and high doses and extended use can cause serious and permanent injury.


The first commercial production of gentamicin sulfate dates back more than 40 years. During that time, gentamicin sulfate was the only available antibiotic to treat bacterial infections. Gentamicin sulfate was administered to patients in hospitals, healthcare clinics, and private nursing homes to fight against severe infections. Physicians soon discovered that gentamicin sulfate could be damaging to the host due to its devastating side effects. There are risks that patients can lose vision and hearing power permanently. However, for many years, there were no substitute for gentamicin sulfate, and physicians had to continue it despite the dangers.

Pharmacological properties

Gentamicin sulfate is a versatile antibiotic. It is readily absorbed by human cells and tissues. Effective concentration of gentamicin sulfate persists as long as six to eight hours after intramuscular administration. Because of its synergistic effects, gentamicin sulfate is sometimes used in conjunction with other antibiotics such as penicillin to treat streptococci infections, especially in endocarditis.


Gentamicin sulfate is used to treat gram positive and gram negative bacterial infections as well as neonatal and septicemia sepsis. It is also effective in treating persistent contaminations. Gentamicin sulfate is a prescribed medicine for treating severe and recurring infections of the gastrointestinal tract, the urinary tract, and the lower urinary tract. Because gentamicin sulfate is highly resistant to bacterial infection, it is useful for extended tissue culture and virus studies.


People with pre-existing liver and/or kidney disease may be hypersensitive to the effects of gentamicin sulfate. So, the antibiotic should be administered with proper care for patients who have renal disease. This antibiotic has neuromuscular blocking activities, so it is contraindicated for those patients who have preexisting neuromuscular disorders.

Adverse effects

Gentamicin sulfate is ill-famed because of its ototoxic and nephrotoxic effects. Its toxic effect on the kidneys interferes with phospholipids metabolism in the urinary system, resulting in undesirable leakage of essential enzymes into cells.

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