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Sodium fusidate for infections


Sodium fusidate is an antibiotic. It can be taken by people who are allergic to penicillin.

Space your doses out evenly over the day, and complete the full course of treatment.

The most common side-effect is an upset stomach.

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About sodium fusidate

Type of medicine


Used for

Osteomyelitis, and infections caused by similar germs (bacteria)

Also called

Brand name: Fucidin®
Alternative generic name
: fusidic acid

Available as

Tablets and oral suspension

Osteomyelitis is an infection of a bone. It can develop following an infection somewhere else in your body, or from an injury (such as a bone fracture). Although different types of germs (bacteria) can cause osteomyelitis, a bacterium called Staphylococcus aureus is a common cause. Sodium fusidate is often prescribed to treat bone infections caused by this germ (bacterium). It works by stopping the growth of the germs. Sodium fusidate is also prescribed for other infections caused by staphylococcal germs, such as some skin infections.

Sodium fusidate is a salt of a medicine called fusidic acid. You may find either of these names being given as the ingredient of Fucidin®, depending upon whether you are prescribed tablets or liquid medicine.

Fusidic acid is also an ingredient of a skin cream and a skin ointment. These preparations are used to treat skin infections and more information is available about them in the separate medicine leaflet called Fusidic acid for skin infections. Fusidic acid is also available as an eye drop; more information is available in the separate medicine leaflet called Fusidic acid eye drops.

Before taking sodium fusidate

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 taking this antibiotic it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breastfeeding.

  • If you have a liver problem or a gallbladder problem.

  • If you are taking any other medicines, including any medicines that you have bought without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines. It is particularly important that your doctor knows if you are taking a 'statin' medicine for high cholesterol.

  • If you are following a diet that is low in salt (sodium) for medical reasons.

  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.

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How to take sodium fusidate

  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about your treatment and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking this antibiotic.

  • Take this medicine exactly as your doctor tells you to. As a guide, the usual dose of tablets for an adult is one or two tablets taken two or three times daily. It may, however, be more than this if you have a particularly severe infection. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you what dose is right for you, and this information will also be printed on the label of the pack to remind you.

  • If you (or your child) have been given the liquid medicine, this is prescribed three times daily and should be taken just after a meal or a snack. Your doctor will tell you how much of the medicine should be taken for each dose.

  • Space your doses out evenly during the day, and keep taking this medicine until the course is finished unless your doctor tells you to stop. A course of treatment for a skin infection often lasts around 5-10 days. It will last for longer than this (often 6-12 weeks) if you are taking it for osteomyelitis. It is important that you finish the course of treatment (even if you feel better), or otherwise your infection may come back.

  • If you still feel unwell after finishing your course of treatment, make another appointment to see your doctor for further advice.

  • If you forget to take a dose when it is due, take one as soon as you remember. Try to take the correct number of doses each day, but do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a forgotten one.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • If you need to take sodium fusidate in high doses or for longer periods your doctor will arrange for some blood tests to make sure the antibiotic is not affecting your liver. Try to keep any appointments you have been given.

  • If you are using combined oral hormonal contraception (the 'pill'), additional contraceptive precautions such as condoms are not required during a course of this antibiotic unless you are sick (vomit) or have diarrhoea. If you need further advice about this, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • This antibiotic may stop the oral typhoid vaccine from working. If you are having any vaccinations, make sure the person treating you knows that you are taking this medicine.

  • 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 safe to take with this medicine.

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Can sodium fusidate cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, all medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below lists some of the most common ones associated with sodium fusidate. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve over the first few days of taking a new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common sodium fusidate side-effects - these affect fewer than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine

What can I do if I experience this?

Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting), indigestion, tummy (abdominal) discomfort, diarrhoea

Stick to simple meals - avoid rich or spicy food. Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids

Feeling dizzy or sleepy

If this happens do not drive and do not use tools or machines until you feel better

A few people taking sodium fusidate have developed a liver problem that causes skin or the whites of the eyes to go yellow (jaundice). Sodium fusidate can also cause problems with your blood, which may show as unexplained bruising or bleeding or a repeated sore throat or other infections. Although these are rare side-effects of treatment, if they should happen to you, you must contact your doctor for advice as soon as possible.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to store sodium fusidate

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.

  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

  • The oral liquid medicine lasts for 28 days after opening. However the bottle should have been used up within this time.

Important information about all medicines

Important information about all medicines

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

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.

Report side effects to a medicine or vaccine

If you experience side effects, you can report them online through the Yellow Card website.

Further reading and references

Article history

The information on this page is written and peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

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