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Generic name: mafenide topicalMAF-en-ide ]
Drug class: Topical antibiotics

Medically reviewed by on Sep 7, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is mafenide?

Mafenide is an antibiotic that fights bacteria in the body.

Sulfamylon (for the skin) is used to prevent infection in severe burn wounds.

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

Mafenide side effects

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

Tell your caregivers right away if you have:

  • pale or yellowed skin, dark colored urine, fever, confusion or weakness;

  • rapid breathing;

  • skin rash, bruising, severe tingling, numbness, pain, muscle weakness; or

  • severe skin irritation where the medicine is applied.

Common side effects of Sulfamylon may include:

  • rash, redness, blistering, or itching of treated skin;

  • pain or burning of treated skin; or

  • white or "pruned" appearance of the skin (caused by leaving wound dressings on for long periods of time).

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 Sulfamylon if you are allergic to mafenide.

To make sure Sulfamylon is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • kidney disease;

  • a genetic enzyme deficiency called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency;

  • asthma or sulfite allergy; or

  • if you are allergic to sulfa drugs.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Sulfamylon will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine.

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

How is mafenide used?

Your doctor will determine the correct amount and type of mafenide to use. You will receive this medication in a hospital or burn unit setting.

Mafenide cream is usually applied to the burn wound once or twice a day. The wound should be kept covered with this medicine at all times during treatment.

Mafenide powder is usually mixed together with a saline solution and applied over a gauze dressing using a syringe or irrigation tube. Mafenide is usually applied several times per day in order to keep the bandaging wet.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Because you will receive Sulfamylon in a clinical setting, you are not likely to miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Since Sulfamylon is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid while being treated with mafenide?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

What other drugs will affect mafenide?

It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on topically applied mafenide. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your health care 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.