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Ototoxicity of neomycin and polymyxin B following middle ear application in the chinchilla and baboon.

Author(s): Wright CG, Meyerhoff WL, Halama AR

Affiliation(s): Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Texas Health Science Center, Dallas.

Publication date & source: 1987-11, Am J Otol., 8(6):495-9.

Previous experimental studies have demonstrated structural damage of the organ of Corti and stria vascularis following application of combination antibiotic otic drops to the middle ear. In this investigation the ototoxic effects of neomycin and polymyxin B (two antibiotics often used together in ototopical preparations) were separately evaluated after administration of each agent to the middle ear cavities of chinchillas and baboons. The antibiotics were administered in saline solution at the same concentrations used in Cortisporin Otic Suspension (3.5 mg/ml neomycin base, 10,000 units/ml polymyxin B). In both the rodent and primate, polymyxin B consistently produced greater cochlear damage than did neomycin. In fact, the extent of hair cell loss and strial injury produced by polymyxin B alone was, in many cases, comparable to that previously observed after application of Cortisporin Otic Suspension itself. Hair cell loss in the baboon was markedly less severe than in the chinchilla. It is believed that differences in position and structure of the round window membrane are important factors in the differing levels of ototoxicity observed in the rodent and primate.

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