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chloramphenicol (klor-am-fen-i-kol) n. an antibiotic that is effective against a wide variety of microorganisms. However, due to its serious side-effects, especially damage to the bone marrow, it is usually reserved for serious infections (especially those caused by Haemophilus influenzae) when less toxic drugs are ineffective. It is also used, in the form of eye drops, to treat bacterial conjunctivitis. Trade names:. Chloromycetin,. Kemicetine.