Apply the cream or ointment three or four times a day, unless you have been told otherwise.
Wash your hands well afterwards, as this will help to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.
Your skin should start to improve after a few days. Let your doctor know if you feel there is no improvement after this time.
About fusidic acid cream/ointment
|Type of medicine||Topical antibacterial|
|Used for||Skin infections in adults and children|
|Also called||Brand names: Fucidin®; Fucidin® H (fusidic acid with hydrocortisone); Fucibet® (fusidic acid with betamethasone)|
Alternative generic name: sodium fusidate
|Available as||Cream and ointment|
Fusidic acid is prescribed for skin infections caused by staphylococcal bacteria. Such infections include impetigo, angular cheilitis (an infection around the mouth), and infected dermatitis. It works by stopping the growth of the bacteria causing the infection. Sodium fusidate is a salt of fusidic acid and it works in the same way. You may find this name being given as the ingredient if you have been prescribed an ointment to use.
Fusidic acid cream and sodium fusidate ointment are antibacterial preparations which usually clear skin infection quickly, particularly where the infection only covers a small area. If the infection is more widespread, antibiotic tablets or a liquid medicine may be needed (see separate medicine leaflet called Sodium fusidate for infections for more information about this).
If the area of skin is inflamed as well as infected, your doctor may prescribe a cream which combines fusidic acid with an anti-inflammatory agent, such as hydrocortisone (brand name Fucidin® H) or betamethasone (brand name Fucibet®).
Before using fusidic acid cream/ointment
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start using this preparation it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding. (Although fusidic acid is not known to be harmful to an unborn baby, you should let your doctor know if you think you are pregnant.)
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine, or to a skin preparation.
How to apply fusidic acid cream/ointment
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the cream or ointment, and how to use it.
- Use the preparation exactly as your doctor tells you to. Apply a thin layer of cream/ointment to the infected area and rub it in gently. Unless you have been told otherwise, use it 3-4 times a day. Remember to wash your hands well after you have finished using it (unless you are using it to treat your hands).
- Only use it for as long as your doctor has instructed you to. A course of treatment for impetigo typically lasts for around 7-10 days.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Your skin should start to improve after a few days of treatment. If you think the treatment is not working after this time you should let your doctor know. Sometimes an infection can be resistant to a particular antibiotic and an alternative antibiotic is needed. Likewise, if the infection has not gone by the time you have completed the course of treatment, make another appointment to see your doctor.
- Many skin infections are contagious and can be passed on by touching. To help reduce the risk of this, try to avoid touching the infected area, and use separate towels and facecloths to those used by other members of your family.
- If you are using the preparation near your face, be careful not to get it into your eyes. If this does happen, rinse it off with plenty of warm water.
Can fusidic acid cream/ointment cause problems?
Fusidic acid skin preparations may occasionally cause irritation, although this is usually mild and not troublesome. If, however you develop a rash, it may be a sign of an allergic reaction, especially if it is severe. If this happens, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice as soon as possible.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the preparation, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store fusidic acid cream/ointment
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
This preparation is for use on the skin only. If someone swallows some of it, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to use alongside your other medicines.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Fucidin® Cream; Leo Laboratories Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2011.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Fucidin® Ointment; Leo Laboratories Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated August 2010.
- British National Formulary; 65th Edition (Mar 2013) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr John Cox