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What is Panafil®?

By A. Garrett
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Panafil®, also known as accuzyme ointment, is a topical ointment used to treat wounds and abrasions via debridement. It is considered a hydrophilic ointment because it reacts well with water. The active agent responsible for the medication’s efficacy is derived from a fruit called papaya. Two additional chemicals enhance the effectiveness of the ointment by hastening recovery time and improving the aesthetics of the area being treated. Only a physician should determine this medicine’s dosage level and usage. Although side effects are rare, Panafil® is not devoid of them; other medications may also contribute to adverse reactions or inhibit the ointment’s ability to adequately treat the designated area.

Debriding is the removal of dead or infected skin so that healthy skin can proliferate. Panafil® uses the process of debridement to clean the abrasion and facilitate recovery. This works because the key ingredient, papain, is an enzyme found in papaya that breaks down dead skin tissue without harming healthy skin cells.

Papain by itself has little utility however. Consequently, Panafil® contains urea and chlorophyllin. Urea is a chemical compound that contains elements that activate the papain while simultaneously altering the dead skin cells in a manner that facilitates their debridement. Chlorophyllin promotes the growth of healthy skin and consequently helps the lesion heal.

Panafil® comes in 0.2 ounce (6g) and 1 ounce (30g) tubes that should be stored at room temperature. The ointment is for external use only and should not be ingested or inhaled. If the medication comes in contact with the eyes, water should be used to flush them out. Typically, the medication is used once or twice daily, however a doctor may advise a patient to use the medicine more frequently if the condition warrants it. A patient is advised to cease use and contact his or her physician if the treatment irritates the skin.

Those using Panafil® should avoid using hydrogen peroxide or medications containing silver, mercury, or lead because these substances decrease the medicine’s effectiveness. A patient is advised to cease use and contact his or her physician if the treatment results in prolonged irritation of the skin. Side effects seldom occur, however it is possible that a patient is allergic to one of the active ingredients in Panafil®. Signs of an allergic reaction include the development of a rash, lightheadedness, swelling, itching or respiratory difficulties.

Women who are pregnant or nursing should inform their doctor prior to using this drug. Panafil® can be passed from mother to child in utero or via breastfeeding, though it is unclear what effect use of the drug has on infants. Doctors may prohibit pregnant mothers from taking the drug, or will closely monitor them during treatment.

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Discussion Comments
By anon271378 — On May 26, 2012

Just for your information: the United States FDA removed all topical papain-containing products from the US market in 2008 as posted in the Federal Register Vol. 73, No. 185 /Tuesday, September 23, 2008 /Notices page 54833.

The FDA decided this product is an "unapproved drug", although like many other medications which have been on the market for many, many years (i.e. morphine sulfate 20 mg/ml oral solution, atropine sulfate 1 percent ophthalmic solution, hyoscyamine tablets just to name a few). --a concerned Hospice Pharmacist

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