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sulfur (Topical route)

SUL-fur

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Liquimat
  • Sastid Soap
  • Sulfoam
  • Sulfo-Lo
  • Sulmasque
  • Sulpho-Lac
  • Sul-Ray Aloe Vera Acne
  • Thylox Acne Treatment
  • Zapzyt Cleansing

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Soap
  • Ointment
  • Shampoo
  • Liquid
  • Lotion
  • Cream
  • Gel/Jelly
  • Solution

Therapeutic Class: Antiacne

Uses For sulfur

Sulfur is used to treat many kinds of skin disorders. Sulfur cream, lotion, ointment, and bar soap are used to treat acne. Sulfur ointment is used to treat seborrheic dermatitis and scabies. Sulfur may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

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Some of these preparations are available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using sulfur

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For sulfur, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to sulfur or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Although there is no specific information comparing use of sulfur in children with use in other age groups, sulfur is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in children than it does in adults.

Geriatric

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. Although there is no specific information comparing use of sulfur in the elderly with use in other age groups, sulfur is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

Breast Feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Interactions with 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. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Proper Use of sulfur

Use sulfur only as directed. Do not use it more often and do not use it for a longer period of time than recommended on the label, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Keep sulfur away from the eyes. If you should accidentally get some in your eyes, flush them thoroughly with water.

To use the cream or lotion form of sulfur:

  • Before applying the medicine, wash the affected areas with soap and water and dry thoroughly. Then apply enough medicine to cover the affected areas and rub in gently.

To use the ointment form of sulfur for seborrheic dermatitis:

  • Before applying the medicine, wash the affected areas with soap and water and dry thoroughly. Then apply enough medicine to cover the affected areas and rub in gently.

To use the ointment form of sulfur for scabies:

  • Before applying the medicine, wash your entire body with soap and water and dry thoroughly.
  • At bedtime, apply enough medicine to cover your entire body from the neck down and rub in gently. Leave the medicine on your body for 24 hours.
  • Before applying the medicine again, you may wash your entire body.
  • 24 hours after the last treatment with sulfur, it is important that you thoroughly wash your entire body again.

To use the soap form of sulfur:

  • Work up a rich lather with the soap, using warm water. Wash the affected areas and rinse thoroughly. Apply again, and rub in gently for a few minutes. Remove excess lather with a towel or tissue without rinsing.

Dosing

The dose of sulfur 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 sulfur. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For acne:
    • For cream and bar soap dosage forms:
      • Adults and children—Use on the skin as needed.
    • For lotion dosage form:
      • Adults and children—Use two or three times a day.
    • For ointment dosage form:
      • Adults and children—Use the 0.5% ointment on the skin as needed.
  • For seborrheic dermatitis:
    • For ointment dosage form:
      • Adults and children—Use the 5 to 10% ointment one or two times a day.
  • For scabies:
    • For ointment dosage form:
      • Adults and children—Use the 6% ointment each night for three nights.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of sulfur, take 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. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Precautions While Using sulfur

When using sulfur, do not use any of the following preparations on the same affected area as sulfur, unless otherwise directed by your doctor:

  • Abrasive soaps or cleansers
  • Alcohol-containing preparations
  • Any other topical acne preparation or preparation containing a peeling agent (for example, benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, salicylic acid, or tretinoin [vitamin A acid])
  • Cosmetics or soaps that dry the skin
  • Medicated cosmetics
  • Other topical medicine for the skin

To use any of the above preparations on the same affected area as sulfur may cause severe irritation of the skin.

Do not use any topical mercury-containing preparation, such as ammoniated mercury ointment, on the same area as sulfur. To do so may cause a foul odor, may be irritating to the skin, and may stain the skin black. If you have any questions about this, check with your health care professional.

sulfur Side Effects

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 any of the following side effects occur:

  • Skin irritation not present before use of sulfur

Some 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. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

  • Redness and peeling of skin (may occur after a few days)

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

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