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Silver sulfadiazine (burn treatment, topical antibiotic)

Written by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD · Pharmacology

Updated Jul 26, 2021

Silver sulfadiazine is a topical antibiotic called a sulfonamide. It is mainly used to treat burn wounds and pressure ulcers on the skin and prevents infection of these wounds.


What is silver sulfadiazine used for?

Silver sulfadiazine treats burn wounds and prevents infections due to burns and pressure ulcers.

How should I take silver sulfadiazine?

Read the directions on the packaging for complete information. Check the label and expiration date.

For topical preparations, apply a thin layer to the affected areas. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling the product. Avoid contact with your eyes, nostrils, and mouth.

How do I store silver sulfadiazine?

Store this product at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store it in the bathroom or the freezer. 

There may be different brands of this drug that may have different storage needs. So, it is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush this product down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Additionally, it is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using silver sulfadiazine?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if you are/have:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Taking any other medicines. This includes any prescription, OTC, and herbal remedies.
  • An allergy to any of the ingredients of this product.
  • Any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.
  • Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

    Unfortunately, there isn’t enough information about the safety of using this drug during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is generally safe to use, however, it is not recommended during the 3rd trimester because there is a risk of neonatal hyperbilirubinaemia and kernicterus. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking any medication.

    This medication is pregnancy risk category B according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

    • A= No risk
    • B= No risk in some studies
    • C= There may be some risk
    • D= Positive evidence of risk
    • X= Contraindicated
    • N= Unknown
    • Side effects

      What side effects can occur from silver sulfadiazine?

      Like all drugs, this product may have side effects. If they occur, side effects are generally mild and resolve once treatment is finished or the dose is lowered. Some reported side effects include:

      • Mild burning, itching, pain, or redness at the application site
      • Skin rash
      • Fever
      • Chills
      • Abnormal liver function tests
      • Increased bruising or bleeding
      • Tiredness or weakness
      • Fungal infection

      Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following:

      • Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) *potentially fatal
      • Anaphylactic reactions *potentially fatal
      • Difficulty urinating

      However, not everyone experiences these side effects. In addition, some people may experience other side effects. So, if you have any concerns about a side effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


      What drugs may interact with silver sulfadiazine?

      This medication may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. 

      To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. 

      Drugs with known interactions:

      • Other sulfonamides
      • Enzymatic debriding agents
      • Oral antihyperglycemics
      • Phenytoin

      If you experience an adverse drug interaction, inform your doctor immediately to reevaluate your treatment plan. Approaches include dose adjustment, drug substitution, or ending therapy.

      Does food or alcohol interact with silver sulfadiazine?

      This drug may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

      What health conditions may interact with silver sulfadiazine?

      This drug may interact with underlying conditions. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. Therefore, it is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:

      • Kidney problems
      • Liver problems
      • Diabetes
      • Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency
      • Blood disorders (e.g. anemia, leukopenia, porphyria)


      The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. Therefore, you should always consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using any medication.

      What is the dose for an adult?

      Burn treatment

      Apply a 1 to 2 mm layer of product to the affected areas, one to two times per day. Ensure that the burn wound is covered with product at all times, reapply as necessary.

      Infected pressure ulcers

      Fill ulcer cavity to a depth of at least 3 to 5 mm each day. Less exudative (oozing) wounds can be treated every other day. Cover the wound with an absorbent pad or gauze dressing to prevent leakage.

      What is the dose for a child?

      There is no established pediatric dose. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

      How is silver sulfadiazine available?

      This medication is available in the following brands, dosage forms, and strengths:

      • Burnsil cream 1%
      • Flammazine cream 1%
      • Innoxiderm cream 1%
      • Silvedex cream 10 g/g
      • Silvertin cream 10 mg/g
      • Silvex cream 1%

      What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

      In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room.

      What should I do if I miss a dose?

      If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose. Avoid missing doses to prevent antibiotic resistance and treatment failure.


      Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

      Written by

      Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD


      Updated Jul 26, 2021

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