What Is Gatifloxacin Used For?
A healthcare provider will recommend the use of gatifloxacin for someone who has bacterial conjunctivitis, commonly called "pink eye." This medication works by interfering with the process bacteria need to multiply. Older adults can generally use it without problems, as can children as young as one year of age. In some cases, it is used to treat other kinds of bacterial eye infections.
Gatifloxacin (Zymar®, Zymaxid™) is an antibiotic in a class of medications called fluoroquinolones, or "quinolones" for short. It comes as an ophthalmic solution (eye drop). Gatifloxacin eye drops are approved to treat bacterial conjunctivitis, an infection more commonly called pink eye.
Conjunctivitis is a medical term used to describe inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the thin membrane that lines the whites of the eyes and the inner eyelids. When the conjunctiva becomes inflamed, it looks pink or red. This is the reason conjunctivitis is more commonly called pink eye.
This infection can occur in one or both eyes. Common symptoms may include:
- Pinkness or redness in the affected eye or eyes
- Eye(s) that are crusted over or "stuck shut" in the morning
- Eye itching or burning
- A sandy or gritty feeling in the eye
- Eye discharge.
There are many possible causes of conjunctivitis, including an allergic reaction, eye irritation, or an infection with a virus or bacteria. Gatifloxacin is used to treat bacterial conjunctivitis due to certain types of bacteria.
Although gatifloxacin is considered a "broad-spectrum" antibiotic, which means it is effective against many different bacteria types, not all bacteria will respond to it. This medication will not treat other causes of conjunctivitis, including viral conjunctivitis.
Conjunctivitis can be uncomfortable, but it rarely causes permanent eye damage or vision loss. It is highly contagious, however, so prompt medical treatment is important to prevent the spread of infection from one eye to another, or from person to person.
(Click Pink Eye Transmission for more information about how conjunctivitis is spread.)