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Sulfacetamide

Uses|Precautions & Warnings|Side Effects|Interactions|Dosage

Uses

What is sulfacetamide used for?

Sulfacetamide is part of a class of antibiotics known as sulfonamides. Sulfonamides work by inhibiting bacterial folic acid synthesis which disrupts the growth of bacteria. As a bacteriostatic agent, it does not directly kill bacteria but rather prevents it from replicating and further spreading.

Sulfacetamide is a broad-spectrum antibiotic mainly indicated for:

  • Skin and eye infections
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

How should I take sulfacetamide?

Sulfacetamide is available in the Philippines as an eye drop preparation. Do not take it orally or apply it to skin wounds.

Prior to use, wash your hands properly with warm water and mild soap. Remove the cap of the eye drop bottle without touching the nozzle. Tilt your head back and gently pull your lower eyelid away from your eye. Instill the appropriate number of drops into the eyelid pouch.

Close your eyes while placing pressure on the inner corner of your eye for one to two minutes. Wipe away any excess medication with a tissue. Repeat in the other eye, if necessary. Wash your hands afterward and avoid touching your eyes and eye area.

How do I store sulfacetamide?

This drug should be stored at room temperature (<25°C) and be protected from light and moisture. Do not freeze this product.

Always check the label before using this product. Do not use if the printed expiration date has passed, the product seal has been broken, or the product has changed in color, odor, or consistency.

Do not dispose of this product by pouring it down the drain, toilet, or into the environment. Ask your pharmacist regarding the proper way and location of disposal. For safety, keep out of the reach of children and pets.

Precautions & Warnings

What should I know before using sulfacetamide?

Before using this medication, inform your doctor if:

  • You have ever had an allergic reaction to sulfacetamide or other sulfonamides
  • You have a history of allergy to other medications, food, or other substances
  • You are taking other medications
  • You have underlying health conditions

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

This drug is a pregnancy category C drug. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies using sulfacetamide in pregnant women. This drug should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus, as determined by your doctor.

This drug may be excreted in breast milk. This drug should be used while breastfeeding only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the child, as determined by your doctor.

Side Effects

What side effects can occur when using sulfacetamide?

All drugs have the potential to elicit side effects even with normal use. Many side effects are dose-related and will resolve when it is adjusted or at the end of therapy.

Potential side effects while using this drug include:

  • Eye irritation
  • Stinging
  • Burning
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Conjunctival hyperemia

Rare, potentially fatal adverse reactions include:

  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS)

You may experience some, none, or other side effects not mentioned above. If you experience serious adverse reactions, you must stop taking the drug immediately. If you have any concerns about a side effect or it becomes bothersome, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with sulfacetamide?

This drug may interact with other medications. 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.

Known drugs and associated interactions with this medication include:

  • Silver-containing eye medications
    • May reduce the effectiveness of sulfacetamide

If you experience an adverse drug interaction, stop taking this drug and continue taking your other medication. Inform your doctor immediately to reevaluate your treatment plan. Your dose may need to be adjusted, substituted with another drug, or discontinue using the drug.

Does food or alcohol interact with sulfacetamide?

This drug can be used with or without meals, as there is no notable interaction. As an eye drop preparation, alcohol consumption is unlikely to have any notable interactions.

Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns regarding food-drug interactions.

What health conditions may interact with sulfacetamide?

This drug should be taken with caution if you have any of the following conditions or risk factors:

  • Asthma
  • G6PD deficiency
  • Renal (kidney) impairment
  • Hepatic (liver) impairment

Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns regarding specific health conditions.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist before using sulfacetamide.

What is the dose of sulfacetamide for an adult?

For treating eye infections

  • Instill 1 to 2 drops into the affected eyes every 2 to 3 hours for 7 to 10 days, as directed by your doctor.

What is the dose of sulfacetamide for a child?

For treating eye infections

  • For children 2 months and older: give the same dose as an adult.

How is sulfacetamide available?

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

  • Facetam 10% ophthalmic solution
  • Sensocet 10% ophthalmic solution
  • Vistasulf 10% ophthalmic solution

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 your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of this drug, 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.

Sources
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Written by Stephanie Nicole Nera, RPh, PharmD Updated Aug 24, 2020
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