Silver sulfadiazine

Generic Name: silver sulfadiazine (SIL-ver SULl-fa-DYE-a-zeen)
Brand Name: Examples include Silvadene and Thermazene

Silver sulfadiazine is used for:

Treating and preventing bacterial infection in second- and third-degree burns. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Silver sulfadiazine is a sulfonamide. It kills bacteria by working on the cell membrane and cell wall.

Do NOT use silver sulfadiazine if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in silver sulfadiazine
  • you are pregnant and near your delivery date
  • you are taking methenamine

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using silver sulfadiazine:

Some medical conditions may interact with silver sulfadiazine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you are allergic to sulfonamides (eg, sulfamethoxazole)
  • if you have kidney or liver problems or glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency
  • if you have blood problems (eg, anemia, low white blood cell levels)

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with silver sulfadiazine. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Methenamine because it may increase the risk of silver sulfadiazine's side effects

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if silver sulfadiazine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use silver sulfadiazine:

Use silver sulfadiazine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Wash your hands well before and after you apply silver sulfadiazine. Use a sterile-gloved hand to apply silver sulfadiazine to a thickness of approximately 1/16 inch on all affected areas. Whenever necessary, reapply the cream to keep the affected areas covered at all times.
  • Dressings are usually not required with silver sulfadiazine. However, follow your doctor's instructions if a dressing is needed.
  • Follow the directions provided by your doctor for bathing or washing the affected area.
  • To prevent or to clear up your infection completely, continue using silver sulfadiazine for the full course of treatment even if your condition improves in a few days. Do not miss any doses.
  • If you miss a dose of silver sulfadiazine, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use silver sulfadiazine.

Important safety information:

  • Silver sulfadiazine is for external use only. Avoid getting silver sulfadiazine in your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you get silver sulfadiazine in any of these areas, rinse right away with cool tap water.
  • Silver sulfadiazine may be harmful if swallowed. If you or someone you know may have taken silver sulfadiazine by mouth, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Silver sulfadiazine is effective only against bacteria. It is not effective for treating viral infections.
  • It is important to use silver sulfadiazine for the full course of treatment. Failure to do so may decrease the effectiveness of silver sulfadiazine and increase the risk that the bacteria will no longer be sensitive to silver sulfadiazine and will not be able to be treated by this or certain other antibiotics in the future.
  • Long-term or repeated use of silver sulfadiazine may cause a second infection. Your doctor may want to change your medicine to treat the second infection. Contact your doctor if signs of a second infection occur.
  • Silver sulfadiazine is not recommended for use in CHILDREN younger than 2 months old; safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using silver sulfadiazine while you are pregnant. It is not known if silver sulfadiazine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking silver sulfadiazine.

Possible side effects of silver sulfadiazine:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Mild burning, itching, pain, or redness at the application site; skin discoloration.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); difficulty urinating; fever, chills, or sore throat; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; symptoms of liver problems (eg, yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, pale stools, nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite); unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual tiredness or weakness.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Silver sulfadiazine may be harmful if swallowed.

Proper storage of silver sulfadiazine:

Store silver sulfadiazine at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep silver sulfadiazine out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about silver sulfadiazine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Silver sulfadiazine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take silver sulfadiazine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about silver sulfadiazine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to silver sulfadiazine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using silver sulfadiazine.

Issue Date: November 5, 2014
Database Edition 14.4.1.002
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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