Silver sulfadiazine (SILL-ver sul-fa-DYE-a-zeen), a sulfa medicine,
is used to prevent and treat bacterial or fungus infections. It
works by killing the fungus or bacteria.
Silver sulfadiazine cream is applied to the skin and/or burned
area(s) to prevent and treat bacterial or fungus infections that
may occur in burns. This medicine may also be used for other problems
as determined by your doctor.
Other medicines are used along with this medicine for burns. Patients
with severe burns or burns over a large area of the body must be
treated in a hospital.
Silver sulfadiazine is available only with your doctor's prescription,
in the following dosage form:
- Cream (U.S. and Canada)
Before Using This Medicine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of using the medicine
must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision
you and your doctor will make. For silver sulfadiazine, the following
should be considered:
Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any
unusual or allergic reaction to silver sulfadiazine or to any of
the following medicines:
- Acetazolamide (e.g., Diamox)
- Antidiabetics, oral (diabetes medicine you take by mouth)
- Dichlorphenamide (e.g., Daranide)
- Furosemide (e.g., Lasix)
- Methazolamide (e.g., Neptazane)
- Sulfonamides, other (sulfa medicine)
- Thiazide diuretics (water pills)
Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to
any other substances, such as preservatives or dyes.
Pregnancy—Studies have not been done in humans. However,
sulfa medicines may increase the chance of liver problems in newborn
infants. Silver sulfadiazine has not been shown to cause birth defects
or other problems in studies in rabbits treated with 3 to 10 times
the usual amount of silver sulfadiazine.
Breast-feeding—It is not known whether silver sulfadiazine
applied to the skin and/or burns passes into the breast milk. However,
silver sulfadiazine may be absorbed into the body when used on skin
and/or burns. Sulfa medicines given by mouth do pass into the breast
milk. They may cause liver problems, anemia (iron-poor blood), and
other unwanted effects in nursing babies, especially those with
glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (lack of G6PD enzyme).
Therefore, caution is recommended when using this medicine in nursing
Children—Use is not recommended in premature or newborn
infants up to 2 months of age. Sulfa medicines may cause liver problems
in these infants. Although there is no specific information comparing
use of silver sulfadiazine in older infants and children with use
in other age groups, this medicine is not expected to cause different
side effects or problems in older infants and children than it does
Older adults—Many medicines have not been studied
specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether
they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they
cause different side effects or problems in older people. There
is no specific information comparing use of silver sulfadiazine
in the elderly with use in other age groups.
Other medicines—Although certain medicines should
not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines
may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these
cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions
may be necessary. When you are taking silver sulfadiazine, it is
especially important that your health care professional know if
you are taking any of the following:
- Cimetidine—May increase the risk of leukopenia (low white
blood cell counts)
- Collagenase (e.g., Santyl) or
- Papain (e.g., Panafil) or
- Sutilains (e.g., Travase)—Silver sulfadiazine may prevent
these enzymes from working properly
Other medical problems—The presence of other medical
problems may affect the use of silver sulfadiazine. Make sure you
tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Blood problems or
- Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (lack of G6PD enzyme)—Use
of this medicine may cause blood problems or make them worse
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease—In persons with these conditions, use may
result in higher blood levels of this medicine; a smaller dose
may be needed
- Porphyria—Use of this medicine may result in a severe
attack of porphyria
Proper Use of This Medicine
This medicine should not be used on premature or newborn infants
up to 2 months of age , unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
It may cause liver problems in these infants.
- Before applying this medicine, cleanse the affected area(s).
Remove dead or burned skin and other debris.
- Wear a sterile glove to apply this medicine. Apply a thin layer
(about 1/16 inch) of silver sulfadiazine to the affected area(s).
Keep the affected area(s) covered with the medicine at all times.
- If this medicine is rubbed off the affected area(s) by moving
around or if it is washed off during bathing, showering, or the
use of a whirlpool bath, reapply the medicine.
- After this medicine has been applied, the treated area(s) may
be covered with a dressing or left uncovered as desired.
To help clear up your skin and/or burn infection completely, keep
using silver sulfadiazine for the full time of treatment . You
should keep using this medicine until the burned area has healed
or is ready for skin grafting. Do not miss any doses .
Dosing—The dose of silver sulfadiazine will be different
for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions
on the label . The following information includes only the average
doses of silver sulfadiazine. If your dose is different, do not
change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
- For topical dosage form (cream):
- For burn wound infections:
- Adults and children 2 months of age and older—Use
one or two times a day.
- Premature and newborn infants up to 2 months of age—Use
and dose must be determined by the doctor.
Missed dose—If you miss a dose of this medicine, apply
it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next
dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.
Storage—To store this medicine:
- Keep out of the reach of children.
- Store away from heat and direct light.
- Keep the medicine from freezing.
- Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.
Side Effects of This Medicine
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted
effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they
do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if the following side
Blistering, peeling or loosening of skin; bloody or cloudy
urine; chills or fever; cough; decreased amount of urine or
less frequent urination; increased sensitivity of skin to sunlight,
especially in patients with burns on large areas; intense itching
of burn wounds; pain at site of application; painful or difficult
urination; red skin lesions, often with a purple center; shortness
of breath; sore throat; sores, ulcers or white spots on lips
or in mouth; swollen glands; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual
tiredness or weakness
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention.
These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts
to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following
side effects continue or are bothersome:
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients.
If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.
Note: The information contained herein has been
devised without reference to cultural, dietary, societal, language,
prescribing or dispensing conditions (including those imposed by law),
other than those of the United States, which might affect the information
provided. Information is for your personal use only and may not be
sold or redistributed.
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