Triple-antibiotic ointment (TAO) is a safe and effective topical agent for preventing infections in minor skin trauma. The formulation contains neomycin, polymyxin B and bacitracin in a petrolatum base. TAO is active against the most common disease-causing pathogens found in wounds and on the skin and may be an attractive alternative to oral therapy in select circumstances.
This medication is used to prevent and treat minor skin infections caused by small cuts, scrapes, or burns. It is available without a prescription for self-medication. Do not use this product over large areas of the body. Ask your doctor first before using this product for serious skin injuries or infections (e.g., deep cuts, puncture wounds, animal bites, serious burns). This medication prevents/treats only bacterial skin infections. It will not work for other types of skin infections (e.g., infections caused by fungi, viruses). Unnecessary use or misuse of any antibiotic can lead to its decreased effectiveness.
How to use Triple Antibiotic Ointment
This medication is for use on the skin only. Follow all directions on the product package or use as directed by your doctor. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Clean and dry the affected skin area. If you are using the ointment, wash your hands first. Then apply a small amount of medication (no more than can fit on your finger tip) in a thin layer on the skin and rub in gently, usually 1 to 3 times a day. Wash your hands after applying the ointment. If you are using the spray, shake the container well before using, then spray a small amount on the affected area as directed, usually 1 to 3 times a day. You may cover small treatment areas with a sterile bandage.
Do not use large amounts of this medication or apply this more often or for a longer period than directed. Your condition will not clear faster, but the risk of side effects may be increased. Do not use this product for longer than 1 week unless directed by your doctor. Do not use this medication on irritated skin in a child’s diaper area unless directed by the doctor. After applying the medication to the diaper area, do not use tight-fitting diapers or plastic pants.
Avoid getting this medication in your eyes or inside the nose or mouth. If this occurs, wipe off the medication and rinse thoroughly with water.
Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time(s) each day.
If your condition does not improve after a few days or if it worsens, or if you think you may have a serious medical problem, seek immediate medical attention.
When Should I NOT Use Triple Antibiotic Ointment?
Triple antibiotic ointment should not be used over any large portion of the body. You should always speak with your doctor prior to using this product for any type of serious skin injury or an infection (e.g., any type of deep cut, animal bites, puncture wounds, or serious burns). Triple antibiotic ointments and creams are not appropriate for infections caused by any type of fungus or virus. Misusing any type of any antibiotic or ointment may lead to it not working as effectively in the future. You should not use triple antibiotic ointment if you are allergic to any of the ingredients listed on the product packaging.
During pregnancy, use of this medication should be discussed with your doctor, including the risks and benefits. It should only be used during pregnancy when clearly needed. It is not known if triple antibiotic ointment passes into breast milk. Breastfeeding mothers should consult their doctor before use of this medication.
Can You Put Triple-antibiotic Ointment In Your Private Area?
No, you should never apply Triple antibiotic ointment to your private area without speaking to your doctor first. If you happen to be allergic to bacitracin, neomycin, or polymyxin or if you are unsure if you are allergic to any of the product’s ingredients, you should consult a doctor before using it. Before using triple antibiotic ointment, it is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist about all medications you currently take in order to prevent any interactions with this product.
Triple Antibiotic side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
A rare but serious side effect of neomycin is hearing loss, which has occurred in people using other forms of neomycin. It is unlikely that you would absorb enough of this medicine through your skin to cause this effect. Call your doctor at once if you notice any changes in your hearing.
Call your doctor at once if you have severe redness or irritation, swelling, pus, oozing, or other signs of infection.
Common side effects may include:
- mild itching or rash; or
- minor skin irritation after using the medicine.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.