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Sulfacetamide/ sulfur cream

Generic Name: sulfacetamide/sulfur (sul-fa-SEE-ta-mide/SULL-fer)
Brand Name: Examples include Avar and Plexion SCT

Sulfacetamide/ sulfur cream is used for:

Treating acne, rosacea, and seborrhea. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Sulfacetamide/sulfur cream is a sulfonamide antibiotic and keratolytic. It works by killing bacteria and shedding the top layer of skin to help treat acne.

Do NOT use sulfacetamide/ sulfur cream if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in sulfacetamide/sulfur cream
  • you have had a severe allergic reaction (eg, severe rash, hives, difficulty breathing, dizziness) to any other sulfonamide medicine, such as acetazolamide, celecoxib, certain diuretics (eg, hydrochlorothiazide), glyburide, probenecid, sulfamethoxazole, valdecoxib, or zonisamide
  • you have kidney disease

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

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Before using sulfacetamide/ sulfur cream:

Some medical conditions may interact with sulfacetamide/sulfur cream. 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 have eczema or a history of lupus

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

  • Silver-containing products (eg, silver sulfadiazine) because they may decrease sulfacetamide/sulfur cream's effectiveness
  • Methenamine because it may increase the risk of sulfacetamide/sulfur cream's side effects

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if sulfacetamide/sulfur cream 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 sulfacetamide/ sulfur cream:

Use sulfacetamide/sulfur cream as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Sulfacetamide/sulfur cream is for use on the skin only. Sulfacetamide/sulfur cream may stain clothing and the skin if too much is used.
  • Wash hands before and after using sulfacetamide/sulfur cream.
  • Gently wash and dry the affected area. Apply a small amount of sulfacetamide/sulfur cream to the affected area. Rub in gently.
  • To clear up your infection completely, continue using sulfacetamide/sulfur cream for the full course of treatment even if you feel better in a few days.
  • Sulfacetamide/sulfur cream works best if it is used at the same time each day.
  • Continue to use sulfacetamide/sulfur cream even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
  • If you miss a dose of sulfacetamide/sulfur cream, 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 sulfacetamide/sulfur cream.

Important safety information:

  • It may take several days for sulfacetamide/sulfur cream to work fully.
  • Avoid getting sulfacetamide/sulfur cream in your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you get sulfacetamide/sulfur cream in your eyes, rinse immediately with cool tap water.
  • Talk with your doctor before you use any other medicines or cleansers on your skin.
  • Do not apply sulfacetamide/sulfur cream to open wounds or to damaged or burned skin without first checking with your doctor.
  • If you use topical products too often, your condition may become worse.
  • Sulfacetamide/sulfur cream only works against bacteria; it does not treat viral infections.
  • Be sure to use sulfacetamide/sulfur cream for the full course of treatment. If you do not, the medicine may not clear up your infection completely. The bacteria could also become less sensitive to this or other medicines. This could make the infection harder to treat in the future.
  • Long-term or repeated use of sulfacetamide/sulfur cream may cause a second infection. Tell your doctor if signs of a second infection occur. Your medicine may need to be changed to treat this.
  • Sulfacetamide/sulfur cream should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 12 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children 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 sulfacetamide/sulfur cream while you are pregnant. It is not known if sulfacetamide/sulfur cream is found in breast milk after topical use. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use sulfacetamide/sulfur cream, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of sulfacetamide/ sulfur cream:

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 irritation, stinging, or burning of the skin.

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); cracked or extremely dry skin; fever; joint pain; red, swollen, scaling, or blistered skin; severe diarrhea; sores in the mouth; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

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. Sulfacetamide/sulfur cream may be harmful if swallowed. Symptoms of ingestion may include change in the amount of urine; nausea; vomiting.

Proper storage of sulfacetamide/sulfur cream:

Store sulfacetamide/sulfur cream 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. Do not freeze. Keep sulfacetamide/sulfur cream out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about sulfacetamide/sulfur cream, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Sulfacetamide/sulfur cream 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 sulfacetamide/sulfur cream 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 sulfacetamide/sulfur cream. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to sulfacetamide/sulfur cream. 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 sulfacetamide/sulfur cream.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
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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