What Is Fusidic Acid?

Jacquelyn Gilchrist

Fusidic acid is a medication that a doctor may prescribe to treat bacterial infections. Patients who have viral infections like a cold or the flu will not benefit from this drug. It may treat soft tissue and skin infections, as well as infections of the joints or bones. Some patients with antibiotic-resistant infections may especially benefit from fusidic acid. These medical conditions may include infected eczema, folliculitis, or hair follicle infections, and paronychia, which is a skin infection in the fingernail region.

Fusidic acid cream may cause contact dermatitis.
Fusidic acid cream may cause contact dermatitis.

This medication is available in several different forms, including tablets and syrups intended to be taken orally, and injections. Those with certain types of skin or wound infections may be prescribed a medicated cream to apply to the skin. The cream is typically applied three to four times daily, and patients should always wash their hands well before and after each application. Patients using an oral fusidic acid medication will typically take it three times daily, in order to maintain a certain level of the drug in their bodies. The doctor should be consulted in the event that the patient's infection does not get better or appears to worsen.

Some side effects may occur with the use of fusidic acid for bacterial infections, which should be reported to the prescribing physician if they become severe. Nausea, stomach pain, and loss of appetite may occur, and some patients have experienced loose stools and an increase in bowel movements. More serious side effects require immediate medical attention, such as yellowing of the skin or eyes and unusual fatigue. These serious side effects do not occur in most patients using this drug.

Fusidic acid cream applied topically may result in additional, mild side effects such as contact dermatitis, skin rashes, and itching. When the cream is applied, patients may also experience pain and a burning or stinging sensation. Patients should talk to their doctors if any of these side effects persist or become severe.

Before using fusidic acid, patients should disclose their other medical conditions, medications, and supplements. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should discuss possible risks with their doctors. People with liver disease should be aware that their condition may be worsened with the use of fusidic acid, and the use of this drug is not generally recommended for these patients. Those who use certain medications such as simvastatin, saquinavir, atorvastatin, and ritonavir may require an altered dose while undergoing treatment with fusidic acid.

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