Fusidic acid cream is a topical medication used by patients with skin infections. It kills bacteria on the skin and may be used in combination with other drugs in some cases. Conditions treatable with this cream can include infected cuts, folliculitis, and impetigo. Availability depends on the region; in some places it can only be obtained by prescription, while in others it is an over the counter medication people can buy without a note from a medical practitioner.
To use this cream, patients gently wash with mild soap and warm water and pat the site dry before applying the medication, three to four times a day. A dressing may be necessary for a seeping wound or one in a location that might be irritated by clothing, in which case three doses are typically sufficient. The patient needs to keep using the drug for the entire course of therapy to kill all the bacteria present. Even as the wound starts to heal, some organisms may survive and could start growing again.
Patients may receive a compounded medication with hydrocortisone. This steroid can reduce inflammation, which limits swelling, redness, and irritation around the site of the infection. While the infection is healing, it is important to avoid touching it and then handling other areas of the skin, because bacteria may be transferred and spread. Handling it can also promote scarring, which may be a problem in visible areas like the face.
Some patients notice tingling and mild irritation when they apply fusidic acid cream. These reactions are not abnormal, and should resolve as the medication absorbs. Severe pain or irritation, significant swelling, or whole-body reactions like hives are a cause for concern. They may indicate that the patient is allergic to something in the medication, and should stop taking it. People who experience severe side effects can discuss them to determine if they should switch medications and consider alternatives in the future as well.
One risk with antibiotics like fusidic acid is the development of resistance. If this medication is used too much, the patient can contribute to the growth of bacteria that are less vulnerable to it, which makes future infections harder to treat. It is advisable to only use this drug when specifically advised to do so, and to complete the course of therapy as directed. Unused fusidic acid cream can be discarded at the end of the treatment.