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Neosporin Warnings and Precautions

You may not be able to use Neosporin if you have a serious burn or a large open wound, as too much of the medication could be absorbed into the bloodstream. Warnings and precautions with Neosporin also apply to people with certain allergies and to pregnant women. Your healthcare provider may have other recommendations based on your specific situation.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Using Neosporin?

Before using Neosporin®, tell your healthcare provider if you:
  • Have a puncture wound, an animal bite, or a serious burn
  • Have any allergies, including to medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Are pregnant.
You should also make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Warnings and Precautions

Some precautions and warnings to be aware of prior to using Neosporin include the following:
  • Neosporin first aid products are intended for external use only. They are not intended for use in the eyes or nose (see Neosporin Uses for more information).
  • Neomycin, one of the active ingredients in Neosporin, has a tendency to cause allergic reactions. Sometimes, these reactions are not obvious, and the only symptoms may be a little dryness and a failure to heal.
It can be difficult to know if problems such as skin redness or swelling are a reaction to Neosporin or are signs of an infection. This is one of the reasons that many healthcare providers now recommend using first aid products without neomycin.
  • Check with your healthcare provider before using Neosporin if you have a puncture wound, an animal bite, or a serious burn. These types of wounds usually need professional medical care.
  • Do not use Neosporin over a large area of the body, in a large open wound, or on the skin of a newborn (or even an infant) without checking with your healthcare provider. In such situations, it may be possible for significant amounts of the active ingredients to be absorbed into the bloodstream, which could cause potentially serious side effects, such as hearing loss or kidney damage.
  • Do not use Neosporin for more than one week unless your healthcare provider specifically recommends that you do so. Overuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance, increasing the chance that you may develop an infection that is resistant to treatment with antibiotics.
  • Sometimes, antibiotics cause an overgrowth of other types of bacteria that are not susceptible to the antibiotic. If this happens, you will likely need to be treated with additional antibiotics.
  • Neosporin is classified as a pregnancy Category C medication, which means that it could cause problems during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown (see Neosporin and Pregnancy for more information).
  • When used appropriately, Neosporin is probably safe for use in breastfeeding women, as long as it is not applied directly to the nipple (see Neosporin and Breastfeeding).
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