Neomycin is a common antibiotic which belongs the aminoglycoside group of antibiotics. It is found in many topical medications such as ointments, eyedrops, and cream. Neomycin is a broad spectrum antibiotic effective against both gram positive and gram negative bacteria, interfering with protein synthesis in sensitive bacterial cells such as species of Proteus and Staphylococcus.
Neomycin is commonly used as a topical preparation like Neosporin. It can be given orally, too, but it is usually combined with other antibiotics. Neomycin is not absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, and has been used as a preventative measure for hepatic encephalopathy and hypercholesterolemia.
Neomycin was discovered by the microbiologist Selman Waksman and his student Hubert Lechevalier at Rutgers University in 1949. It is produced naturally by the bacterium Streptomyces fradiae.