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Issuing chloramphenicol drops

U2.9.5 Issuing chloramphenicol drops (2013)

This question came from a member who was concerned about the use of chloramphenicol drops. A patient had come into the practice after having something go in her eye in the garden. The member knew the use of such drops was restricted so spoke to the practice optometrist on the telephone for advice. The optometrist had instructed her to issue the chloramphenicol drops but the member was worried if her actions were correct.

The use of chloramphenicol by dispensing opticians is very clearly explained in ABDO’s Advice and Guidelines, which states: “In the case of acute bacterial conjunctivitis ONLY, the sale and supply of 0.5% chloramphenicol drops [1% ointment] may now be instigated by all Dispensing Opticians. The restrictions of the pharmacy classification limit the supply to:

a maximum pack size of 10ml[drops]/4gms[ointment];

only in adults and children over 2 years of age;

for a maximum of 5 days.

“All actions and advice should be noted on the patient’s record.”

In this case, the patient did not have bacterial conjunctivitis, although may well have gone on to develop it, and the dispensing optician was correct in not supplying the item.

By contacting the optometrist and asking for assistance she acted correctly; the optometrist was able, through the information given by the DO, to sanction the supply of Chloramphenicol for use as a prophylactic. I’m sure the patient was grateful that the practice could give her assistance.

The only further advice I gave our member was to ensure that all her actions were clearly recorded and that the records were shown to the optometrist on their return to the practice to ensure that no further action was needed. It might have been the case that the optometrist would wish to contact the patient at a future occasion to ensure all was progressing well.

#minor eye conditions