Fucidin is a type of antibiotic. It contains the active ingredient fusidic acid, which works to fight bacteria by helping to break down the protein wall surrounding it and stop it from spreading or even kill it. Fucidin comes as both a cream and an ointment. Both contain the same active ingredient, although on the ointment this may be listed as sodium fusidate, which is a salt of fusidic acid. The two preparations are made differently to achieve a different consistency. 1 gram of cream or ointment contains 20 mg of Fusidic acid or sodium fusidate. The ointment is greasier than the cream and is used to treat smaller areas of the skin, the cream is usually used over larger areas as it is easier to apply and spread.
Skin irritation can be a total nuisance, and when that skin irritation is caused by bacteria it can spread rapidly. Impetigo is one common skin condition caused by a bacterial infection, impetigo will spread quickly wherever skin touches other skin – so it transfers and spreads easily between different people. You can also get a skin infection from cuts and grazes if germs get into the wound, or conditions like eczema for the same reason. Just like other bacterial infections, skin infections are treated with a form of antibiotic which kills or inhibits the bacteria inside you so your body can fight it. For skin conditions, this would usually start with a topical treatment, a cream, ointment or spray that you apply to the affected area.
What is Fucidin?
Fucidin is a type of antibiotic. It contains the active ingredient fusidic acid, which works to fight bacteria by helping to break down the protein wall surrounding it and stop it from spreading or even kill it.
Fucidin comes as both a cream and an ointment. Both contain the same active ingredient, although on the ointment this may be listed as sodium fusidate, which is a salt of fusidic acid. The two preparations are made differently to achieve a different consistency. 1 gram of cream or ointment contains 20 mg of Fusidic acid or sodium fusidate. The ointment is greasier than the cream and is used to treat smaller areas of the skin, the cream is usually used over larger areas as it is easier to apply and spread.
When is Fucidin used?
Fucidin is used to treat a variety of different skin infections like:
- Impetigo -weeping, crusty patches on the skin that are highly contagious and spread quickly by touch;
- Infected dermatitis or eczema – when the skin becomes inflamed;
- An infected cut or graze – usually this will be red and hot and/or swollen with or without areas of pus.
Both Fucidin cream and ointment can be used by adults and children.
How do you use Fucidin?
As with any medicine, you should use it exactly as your doctor has told you to as they will have examined your specific condition and adapted the treatment to be particular to you.
Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure about any of the directions. As a general guide, to use Fucidin cream or ointment:
- Check that the tube is sealed before you use it for the first time;
- If the seal is not intact then return your medicine to the pharmacy where you bought it and ask for a replacement;
- Wash your hands carefully before starting – always wash your hands before applying the cream or ointment;
- If the seal is intact, take off the cap, turn it over and push the spike into the tube to break the seal;
- Apply a thin layer of cream or ointment to the affected area of your skin and rub it in gently;
- If you are using the cream or ointment on your face, take care to avoid getting it in your eyes – if you do get it in your eyes, wash them immediately with water and try to flush out the cream, it is likely to sting. If you have any problems with your eye after washing out the cream seek medical assistance;
- Wash your hands carefully once you are finished, avoiding any areas on your hands that you have treated with the cream/ointment, this will prevent the infection from spreading to other areas of skin or other people;
- It is wise to use a separate towel from the rest of your family for handwashing if you have a skin infection;
- Avoid smoke and naked flames while using this treatment, fabric (like clothing and bedding) that has come into contact with the cream/ointment is highly flammable, even after it has been washed. Washing will reduce the risk but it will not completely remove it.
What dosages are there?
You will be told the correct dose to use by your doctor. If you are unsure about anything with regards to application and dose then check with your doctor before you start using the treatment.
- Always apply the cream or ointment in a thin layer;
- The usual dose is three to four applications per day;
- Try to apply your treatment at around the same time each day as this will help you to remember – you could also try setting an alarm;
- If you forget to apply your cream or ointment at the right time, simply apply it as soon as you remember, if you end up skipping a dose try not to worry it isn’t a problem but it may take longer to get rid of the infection if you keep skipping doses;
- If you apply to much cream it is unlikely to be a serious problem, but if you are concerned speak to a medical professional;
- You may be told to apply the treatment less than 3 or 4 times a day if you have been told to cover the area with bandages or dressing (a baby’s nappy may count as a dressing);
- You will usually use Fucidin for around 7 to 10 days;
- Always use the treatment for the full length of time your doctor recommends, antibiotics fight bacteria and while it may look as if the treatment has done its job it will continue to fight any bacteria remaining that may not be causing symptoms- if you stop the treatment early you are more likely to get a recurrence of your infection and it will be harder to fight a second time around;
- Fucidin is not normally used on a long-term basis as this increases the risk of side effects and skin irritation;
- Fucidin is a topical treatment and should not be used in large amounts.
What are the side effects of Fucidin?
As with all medicines, Fucidin comes with a warning of some side effects, although not everyone who uses Fucidin will experience them.
Side effects with Fucidin are not very common they are classed as either uncommon or rare.
The most serious side effect is an allergic reaction. If you think you are having a severe allergic reaction, seek immediate medical assistance. Signs to look out for are:
- Shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty breathing;
- Rapid heartbeat;
- Swelling around the face, throat, eyes, lips or tongue;
- Severe skin rash or hives.
Uncommon side effects that may affect up to 1 in 100 people include:
- Skin irritation where the cream is applied – a burning sensation, stinging, pain, and red skin may all be experienced.
Rare side effects that may affect up to 1 in 1,000 people include:
- Blistering skin;
- Swelling skin.
It is not uncommon for side effects to appear when you start taking a new medicine and sometimes these will disappear after a few days. If you are worried about any of the side effects then speak to your doctor as you may prefer a different option or at the very least speaking to your Doctor may help you not to worry.
When shouldn’t you use Fucidin?
Like all medicines, Fucidin is not suitable for use by everyone, however, it does have very few restrictions.
Do not use Fucidin if you are allergic to Fusidic acid or any of the other ingredients listed on the packet of your cream or ointment.
Take care if you are pregnant, it is safe to use the cream, if breastfeeding then only use if advised by a doctor.
Does Fucidin interact with other medications?
Always tell your doctor about any medicine you are taking or have recently taken, including vitamins, supplements and herbal remedies as some medicines interact with each other and either cause greater problems or lessen the effectiveness of a given treatment.
Fucidin is unlikely to interact with another medicine but it is always best to check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting treatment.
Where can you buy Fucidin?
You can buy Fucidin from any reputable pharmacy, so get it from the pharmacy which is easiest for you to access. You will not be able to buy Fucidin from a shop where there is no pharmacist present as they will need to approve the sale.
Can I get Fucidin without a prescription?
No, you cannot buy Fucidin without a prescription, although it is a topical treatment it is still an antibiotic and as such comes under strict controls.
Antibiotics only work on bacterial infections and often these have similar symptoms to a virus, so a doctor will need to confirm that your skin condition has resulted in or is caused by a bacterial infection before prescribing Fucidin as a treatment. This is because we can become de-sensitised to antibiotics if we take them too frequently, meaning they will not work when we need them.
A doctor will also be able to tell you how long to use the treatment for and may need to check your infection at some point during or after your course of medication.
Leo Laboratories Ltd, 2019. Medicines.org.uk. Retrieved 13 April 2020, from: <https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.5513.pdf>
Leo Laboratories Ltd, 2019. Medicines.org.uk. . Retrieved 13 April 2020, from: <https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.5510.pdf>
Metabolic Healthcare Ltd, 2018. What Is Fusidic Acid? Facts On Its Uses, Benefits And Side Effects – Echo Pharmacy. [online] Echo.co.uk. . Retrieved 13 April 2020, from: <https://www.echo.co.uk/blog/fusidic-acid-uses-benefits-side-effects>
NHS UK, 2018. Fusidic Acid: Antibiotic To Treat Bacterial Skin And Eye Infections. nhs.uk. . Retrieved 13 April 2020, from: <https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/fusidic-acid/>