British Society of Cutaneous Allergy (BCSA)


What are the aims of this patient information leaflet?

This leaflet has been written to help you understand more about your contact allergy. It tells you what a contact allergy is, what causes this allergy and what you can do about it.

What is contact allergy?

Dermatitis, also known as eczema, describes a type of inflammation of the skin. Contact dermatitis or contact eczema is a term used when this inflammation is caused by direct or indirect skin contact with something in your environment. Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when your immune system causes allergy to a very specific chemical or substance that has been in contact with the skin.

What causes your specific allergy?

Your patch tests indicate that you have a contact allergy to gentamicin.

What is gentamicin?

Gentamicin is an antibiotic found in ear drops and eye drops and as an injected antibiotic.

What are some products that contain gentamicin?

  • Gentamycin injection
  • Cidomycin injection
  • Gentacin injection
  • Gentamicin ear/ eye drops
  • Gentamicin and hydrocortisone acetate ear drops
  • Gentacin ear and eye drops
  • Gentisone HC ear and eye drops.

Gentamicin is closely related to other antibiotics in the same aminoglycoside group which includes neomycin and framycetin so these should be avoided too.

Remember, always check the label, these lists can never be complete and ingredients change.

How can I manage my allergy?

This means that you should avoid putting products containing gentamicin onto your skin in the future.

It is particularly important to avoid injected gentamicin as you may develop a widespread skin reaction.

Self-care (what can I do?)

Always check the ingredient listing on the product, package or package insert as these lists can never be complete and ingredients change. This is particularly important for any products purchased outside the EU where some allergens may not be banned.

Created: 2017