Fucidin® ointment is an antibiotic ointment that is used to control wound and skin infections. It is the brand name of a particular formulation of medicinal ointment containing sodium fusidate, a form of the antibiotic fucidic acid. This medication can also be taken systemically as injections, tablets, or a liquid. There is renewed interest in this natural compound because it is frequently effective against strains of Staphylococcus that have developed resistance to other antibiotics, such as methicillin.
Fucidic acid was originally isolated from the fungus Fusidium coccineum. It prevents certain gram-positive bacteria from growing, primarily affecting strains of Staphylococcus. There is some conflict in the literature about whether the antibiotic actually kills the bacteria or just inhibits its growth, which is known as being bacteriostatic. The mode of action of fucidic acid is to prevent the synthesis of proteins, which are needed by the bacteria for growth and reproduction.
There are different types of fucidic ointment, but Fucidin® — available since the 1960s — was the first to be produced. It is a commonly used type of medicinal topical treatment. The preparation consists of 2% sodium fusidate in a base containing lanolin and other inactive compounds. This product is not sold in the United States, but it is available in many other countries.
The ointment is used to treat skin infections and infected wounds, especially those caused by the species Staphylococcus. The medication only affects specific types of bacteria, so it cannot be used against viruses and other bacterial agents. Pregnant women and young infants should not use ointment containing fucidic acid.
Topical fucidic acid should be applied two or three times a day unless there is a protective dressing. In that case, application once a day should be sufficient. Patients should apply the ointment at a similar time each day to ensure that a consistent amount of antibiotic is present in the body. Generally, Fucidin® ointment is used for seven days.
Allergic reactions to this compound are rare, but a medical professional should be notified immediately if diarrhea develops while it is being used, and even if some time has elapsed after use. Patients should be aware of the general signs of an allergic reaction, including itching, difficulty breathing, and swelling or skin rash. It is also important to inform a healthcare practitioner of any other medicines or herbal supplements in use, since they may interact with this antibacterial ointment.
There is some concern in the healthcare community about the use of Fucidin® and similar types of ointment. As strains of Staphylococcus become resistant to a large number of drugs, the treatment options become limited. It is considered good practice to prescribe fucidic acid along with another antibiotic to minimize the chances of bacteria developing resistance, which is easily done by a single mutation in one gene. There is concern that widespread use of fucidic ointment that does not contain an additional antibiotic might contribute to antibiotic resistance in these microorganisms, which can cause life-threatening diseases.
Occasionally, when using antibiotics on the skin, there are bacteria that are resistant to it. Such bacteria can overgrow the original infection. Therefore, if the infection gets worse or does not get better within a few days, patients should contact a medical professional.