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Sulfacetamide ophthalmic

Generic name: sulfacetamide ophthalmic [ SUL-fa-SEET-a-mide-off-THAL-mik ]
Brand names: Bleph-10, Cetamide, Isopto Cetamide, Sodium Sulamyd, Sulf-10, ... show all 12 brands
Dosage forms: ophthalmic ointment (10%), ophthalmic solution (10%)
Drug class: Ophthalmic anti-infectives

Medically reviewed by on May 1, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is sulfacetamide ophthalmic?

Sulfacetamide is an antibiotic.

Sulfacetamide ophthalmic (for use in the eyes) is used to treat bacterial infections of the eyes.

sulfacetamide ophthalmic will not treat a viral or fungal infection. Sulfacetamide ophthalmic is for use only in treating eye infections caused by bacteria.

Sulfacetamide ophthalmic may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Sulfacetamide ophthalmic side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms of a new or worsening eye infection: eye swelling, redness, severe discomfort, crusting or drainage.

Although the risk of serious side effects is low when sulfacetamide is used in the eyes, side effects can occur if the medicine is absorbed into your bloodstream. Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • confusion, feeling very irritable;

  • rapid weight gain, especially in your face and midsection;

  • easy bruising or bleeding;

  • pale skin, flu-like symptoms; or

  • severe skin reaction--fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Common side effects may include mild eye redness or irritation, such as stinging or burning.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use sulfacetamide ophthalmic if you are allergic to sulfacetamide.

To make sure sulfacetamide ophthalmic is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a sulfa drug.

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

It is not known whether sulfacetamide ophthalmic passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

Sulfacetamide ophthalmic should not be given to a child younger than 2 months old.

How should I use sulfacetamide ophthalmic?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Do not use this medicine while wearing contact lenses. Sulfacetamide ophthalmic may contain a preservative that can discolor soft contact lenses. Wait at least 15 minutes after using this medicine before putting in your contact lenses.

Wash your hands before using eye medication.

To use this medicine:

  • Tilt your head back slightly and pull down your lower eyelid to create a small pocket.

  • Eye drops: Hold the dropper above the eye with the tip down. Look up and away from the dropper and squeeze out a drop. Close your eyes for 2 or 3 minutes with your head tipped down, without blinking or squinting. Gently press your finger to the inside corner of the eye for about 1 minute, to keep the liquid from draining into your tear duct.

  • Use only the number of drops your doctor has prescribed. If you use more than one drop, wait about 5 minutes between drops.

  • Wait at least 10 minutes before using any other eye drops your doctor has prescribed.

  • Eye ointment: Hold the ointment tube with the tip pointing toward this pocket. Look up and away from the tip. Squeeze out a ribbon of ointment into the lower eyelid pocket without touching the tip of the tube to your eye. Blink your eye gently and then keep it closed for 1 or 2 minutes.

  • Use a tissue to wipe excess ointment from your eyelashes.

  • After opening your eyes, you may have blurred vision for a short time. Avoid driving or doing anything that requires you to be able to see clearly.

Do not touch the tip of the eye dropper or ointment tube. Do not place the tip directly on your eye. A contaminated dropper or tube can infect your eye, which could lead to serious vision problems.

Do not use the eye drops if the liquid has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze. Keep the bottle or tube tightly closed when not in use.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of sulfacetamide ophthalmic is not expected to be dangerous. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed the medication.

What should I avoid while using sulfacetamide ophthalmic?

sulfacetamide ophthalmic may cause blurred vision and may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert and able to see clearly.

Do not use other eye medications unless your doctor tells you to.

What other drugs will affect sulfacetamide ophthalmic?

It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on sulfacetamide used in the eyes. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.