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Bacitracin and Polymyxin B (Ophthalmic)

Generic name: bacitracin/polymyxin b ophthalmic

Brand names: AK-Poly-Bac, Polycin-B, Polytracin Ophthalmic, Polysporin Ophthalmic, Polycin

Dosage Forms

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling.

Ointment, Ophthalmic:

Polycin: Bacitracin 500 units and polymyxin B 10,000 units per g (3.5 g)

Generic: Bacitracin 500 units and polymyxin B 10,000 units per g (3.5 g)

Ointment, Ophthalmic [preservative free]:

AK-Poly-Bac: Bacitracin 500 units and polymyxin B 10,000 units per g (3.5 g)


Mechanism of Action

See individual agents.



Insignificant from intact skin or mucous membrane

Use: Labeled Indications

Superficial ocular infections: Treatment of superficial infections caused by susceptible organisms


Hypersensitivity to bacitracin, polymyxin B, or any component of the formulation

Dosage and Administration

Dosing: Adult

Superficial ocular infections: Ophthalmic: Apply to affected eye(s) every 3 to 4 hours for 7 to 10 days

Dosing: Geriatric

Refer to adult dosing.

Dosing: Pediatric

Conjunctivitis: Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Ophthalmic: Apply to affected eye(s) 4 times daily (Giggliotti 1984; Wald 1997)


Ophthalmic: For topical ophthalmic use only; apply directly to conjunctival sac; avoid gross contamination of ointment during application.

Drug Interactions

There are no known significant interactions.

Adverse Reactions

See individual agents. Frequency not defined.

Hypersensitivity: Anaphylaxis

Ophthalmic: Burning sensation of eyes, conjunctival erythema, eye pruritus, swelling of eye


Pregnancy Risk Factor


Pregnancy Considerations

Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with this combination.

Patient Education

  • Discuss specific use of drug and side effects with patient as it relates to treatment. (HCAHPS: During this hospital stay, were you given any medicine that you had not taken before? Before giving you any new medicine, how often did hospital staff tell you what the medicine was for? How often did hospital staff describe possible side effects in a way you could understand?)
  • Have patient report immediately to prescriber vision changes, eye pain, or severe eye irritation (HCAHPS).
  • Educate patient about signs of a significant reaction (eg, wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat). Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Patient should consult prescriber for additional questions.

Intended Use and Disclaimer: Should not be printed and given to patients. This information is intended to serve as a concise initial reference for health care professionals to use when discussing medications with a patient. You must ultimately rely on your own discretion, experience, and judgment in diagnosing, treating, and advising patients.

Source: Wolters Kluwer Health. Last updated January 1, 2020.