Silver sulfadiazine (Topical)
Medically reviewed on June 7, 2018
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
- SSD AF
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antibacterial
Chemical Class: Sulfonamide
Uses For This Medicine
Silver sulfadiazine cream is used to prevent and treat wound infections in patients with second- and third-degree burns. Patients with severe burns or burns over a large area of the body must be treated in a hospital.
Silver sulfadiazine is an antibiotic. It works by killing the bacteria or preventing its growth.
Silver sulfadiazine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before Using This Medicine
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 silver sulfadiazine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to silver sulfadiazine 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.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of silver sulfadiazine topical in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Use of silver sulfadiazine topical is not recommended in premature or newborn babies 2 months of age and younger.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of silver sulfadiazine topical in the elderly.
|All Trimesters||B||Animal studies have revealed no evidence of harm to the fetus, however, there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR animal studies have shown an adverse effect, but adequate studies in pregnant women have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus.|
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. When you are taking silver sulfadiazine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using silver sulfadiazine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using silver sulfadiazine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Aminolevulinic Acid
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.
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:
- Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency (a hereditary metabolic disorder affecting red blood cells)—Use with caution. May cause blood problems in patients with this condition.
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
- Porphyria—Use of silver sulfadiazine may result in a severe attack of porphyria.
Proper Use of This Medicine
It is very important that you use silver sulfadiazine only as directed by your doctor. Do not use more of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for a longer time than your doctor ordered.
Silver sulfadiazine is for use on the skin only. Do not get it in your eyes, nose, mouth, or vagina.
- Before applying silver sulfadiazine, clean the affected areas. Remove dead or burned skin and other debris.
- Wear sterile gloves to apply silver sulfadiazine. Apply a thin layer (about 1/16 inch) of silver sulfadiazine to the affected areas. Keep the affected areas covered with the medicine at all times.
- If silver sulfadiazine is rubbed off the affected areas by moving around or if it is washed off during bathing, showering, or the use of a whirlpool bath, reapply the medicine.
- After silver sulfadiazine has been applied, the treated areas may be covered with a dressing or left uncovered as desired.
To help clear up your skin or burn infection completely, keep using silver sulfadiazine for the full time of treatment. You should keep using silver sulfadiazine until the burned area has healed or is ready for skin grafting. Do not miss any doses.
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.
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 topical dosage form (cream):
- For burn wound infections:
- Adults—Apply to the affected areas one or two times a day.
- Children older than 2 months of age—Use and dose must be determined by the doctor.
- Premature infants and infants 2 months of age and younger—Use is not recommended.
- For burn wound infections:
If you miss a dose of silver sulfadiazine, 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.
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.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Precautions While Using This Medicine
It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to check for any problems or unwanted effects that may be caused by silver sulfadiazine.
If your skin infection or burn does not improve within a few days or weeks (for more serious burns or burns over larger areas), or if it becomes worse, check with your doctor.
Do not use silver sulfadiazine for a skin problem that has not been checked by your doctor.
Check with your doctor right away if you have the following symptoms while using silver sulfadiazine: bleeding gums, cough or hoarseness, fever with or without chills, painful or difficult urination, sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth, unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness, or yellow skin or eyes. These could be symptoms of a blood disorder.
Check with your doctor right away if you have blistering, peeling, or loose skin, red skin lesions, severe acne or skin rash, sores or ulcers on the skin, or fever or chills while you are using silver sulfadiazine.
Before you have any medical tests, tell the medical doctor in charge that you are using silver sulfadiazine. The results of some tests may be affected by silver sulfadiazine.
Silver sulfadiazine may rarely stain skin brownish gray.
This Medicine 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:
Incidence not known
- Back, leg, or stomach pains
- blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
- blue-green to black skin discoloration
- dark urine
- fever with or without chills
- general body swelling
- increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight, especially in patients with burns on large areas
- intense itching of burn wounds
- light-colored stools
- lower back or side pain
- nausea or vomiting
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- red skin lesions, often with a purple center
- red, swollen skin
- skin rash
- sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
- swollen or painful glands
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- upper right abdominal or stomach pain
- yellow eyes and skin
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:
Incidence not known
- Brownish-gray skin discoloration
- burning feeling on treated areas
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)
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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