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Fusidic acid: uses, benefits and side effects

October 8th, 2018 by Joe Lofts

Quick facts

What is fusidic acid?

Fusidic acid is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections, such as skin infections (e.g. cellulitis and impetigo) and eye infections (e.g. conjunctivitis). The medication is also available under multiple brand names, including Fucidin Cream.

Fusidic acid is only available on prescription, and comes in the form of cream, ointment or eye drops.

It’s worth noting that this article is an overview of the types of fusidic acid available in primary care: cream, ointment and eye drops. Other forms of the medicine - such as liquid you can swallow and tablets - are sometimes administered in hospital.

If you’re travelling abroad and need fusidic acid, the medication is approved for use under prescription in the UK, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Thailand, South Korea and Taiwan.

fudicin-cream-20mg/g

How does fusidic acid work?

Fusidic acid acts as a bacterial protein synthesis inhibitor. This basically means it stops the bacteria from spreading.

A course of treatment typically lasts around seven days. You should not use the cream or ointment for longer than ten days.

How and when to use fusidic acid

Cream or ointment

Fusidic acid cream and/or ointment (both known by the brand name Fucidin) are usually applied three or four times a day. The NHS provides these instructions:

If you use it on your face be careful to avoid your eyes.

If you accidentally get some in your eyes, wash it out with cold water straight away. Although it may sting a little afterwards, get in touch with your GP if this persists.

Check with your GP or pharmacist if you have any questions about the application of the medicine or when you should take it. You can also refer to the medicine’s Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) for instructions and ingredients.

man-applying-ointment-to-skin-infection-on-hand

Eye drops

Fusidic acid eye drops come in a gel in a tube, which becomes runnier when it touches your eye.

Put one drop of the gel in your affected eye twice a day. Using Echo can help you keep up to date with your doses.

To use the eye drops:

Make sure that the tip of the tube doesn't touch your eye. If the tip of the tube makes contact with your eye, squeeze out two or three drops straight away on to some tissue and rinse the tip of the tube with salt water.

If you wear contact lenses, remove them before you apply fusidic acid eye drops because the drops can scratch or discolour them.

The NHS recommend that you should use fusidic acid eye drops for at least 48 after you feel better and your eye looks normal. This will ensure all the bacteria in the infection are killed.

Warnings

Do not double dose to make up for a missed dose of fusidic acid.

If you think you’ve accidentally used too much, don’t panic - it’s unlikely to harm you. Speak to your GP if you’re concerned about how much medicine you’ve taken, or if your child has swallowed the cream, ointment or eye drops.

Do not stop using the medication without consulting your GP. If you stop using the treatment too early, the infection could come back.

fusidic-acid-20mg/g

What are the side effects of fusidic acid?

Fusidic acid side effects are uncommon, though less than 1 in 100 people may experience skin irritation from the cream or ointment form. Let your GP know if the skin irritation is bothersome or doesn’t go away.

Serious side effects of the cream or ointment occur in less than 1 in 1000 people. Tell your GP straight away if you get:

Side effects of fusidic acid eye drops are more common and happen in less than 1 in 10 people. These can include:

Keep using the eye drops but let your GP know if you are experiencing any of these side effects.

Is fusidic acid suitable for me?

As with the majority of medicines, there are certain people that fusidic acid isn’t suitable for.

Fusidic acid can be taken by children.

You should not take fusidic acid if you are:

If you’re unsure whether or not you have an allergy that will make you unsuitable to take fusidic acid, speak to your GP or pharmacist. It’s also worth checking the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) for a full list of ingredients.

Fusidic acid interactions

According to the NHS, there are no medicines that are known to cause problems when taken at the same time as fusidic acid cream, ointment or eye drops.

leo-fucidin-fusidic-acid-cream-packaging

Is fusidic acid safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?

Yes - it’s generally safe to use fusidic acid cream, ointment or eye drops if you’re pregnant or are breastfeeding your baby.

If you’re using the cream or ointment when breastfeeding, be careful not to get any on your breasts. If you do, make sure to wash it off thoroughly before feeding your child.

What’s the easiest way to get fusidic acid?

If you've been prescribed fusidic acid on repeat prescription by GP, save yourself time and order with Echo today.

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