If you have second- or third-degree burns on your body, your healthcare provider may prescribe Silvadene cream to fight infection.
Silvadene, also known as silver sulfadiazine, is a topical micronized silver with antimicrobial properties. Prescription creams are simple to use, but you should follow the directions for use to get the most benefit from them.
This article explains how Silvadene works and how to use it. It also addresses potential side effects and precautions you should take while using it.
Know your burns
Burns are divided into categories: first, second, and third, depending on how deeply they penetrate the skin:
- First-degree burns affect only the outer layer of the skin, and the burn site is dry, red, and painful. Blisters do not appear on these burns.
- Second-degree burns involve the outer layers and parts of the lower layers of the skin. Burns usually appear red and blistered, and may be swollen and painful. First and second degree burns are considered minor burns.
- A third-degree burn destroys both top layers of the skin and may even penetrate the innermost layer. The burn area usually looks charred and black or white.
how does this work
Silver is not new when it comes to wound care and healing. It is used for methods other than Silvaden. For example, it is infused into wound dressings and other products due to its potent, broad-spectrum, anti-infective properties.
Silvaden belongs to a class of drugs called sulfonamides, but its exact mechanism of action is unknown. Unlike other drugs in the sulfonamide class, Silvadene does not exert its anti-infective properties by inhibiting folic acid synthesis. Instead, it defends against infectious agents by disrupting cell membranes and cell walls.This makes it suitable for inhibiting the growth of bacteria and yeast such as Candida albicans.
When a wound or burn is present, Silvadene helps stop the infection from spreading to the surrounding skin or invading the bloodstream, which can lead to a life-threatening condition called sepsis.
how to use
Silvadene is a topical antibacterial agent that is applied directly to the skin over wounds – most commonly the result of second- and third-degree burns. Your healthcare provider may also recommend other skin infections.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists the following guidelines for using Silvadene cream:
- Clean and remove the burn area before applying the cream. Debridement involves removing dead tissue and any foreign objects. (First, make sure the area around you and your tools is clean.)
- Plan and follow the application timeline. This cream is usually used twice a day in a thickness equal to 1/16 of an inch.
- Cover the wound with gauze or bandages if you prefer, especially if you want to protect the burn from knocks and bumps. The covering will also reduce the risk of infection.
- If daily activities (such as washing dishes) cause the cream to wear off, reapply it as soon as possible.
- Continue to use the ointment until the burn area is completely healed.
Contact your healthcare provider if you notice that your skin condition does not improve or gets worse.
How to Treat Burns
Some side effects are associated with Silvadene, and they can range from mild to severe. If your discomfort persists, talk to your healthcare provider so they can assess whether you should continue using the cream or switch to another method. Side effects range from common (and mild) to severe:
Common side effects may include:
- burning sensation
- itchy skin
- skin discoloration
Serious side effects from using Silvaden are uncommon. Contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible if you experience:
- blood in the urine
- joint pain
- (new) rash
- sore throat
- Unexplained bruising or bleeding
- yellowing of the eyes or skin
In addition, Silvadene poses a slight risk of leukopenia (decreased white blood cells (WBC)). Studies have shown that the onset of leukopenia tends to occur two to four days after treatment is started, and the recovery of white blood cells occurs two to three days after the initial decline or after discontinuation of the drug. Leukopenia caused by the use of Silvaden does not increase the risk of infection or affect treatment outcomes.
Babies are not allowed
Silvadene cream is not recommended for premature infants, newborns, or children 2 months or younger.
Precautions and contraindications
If you have increased sensitivity to silver sulfadiazine or the ingredients that make up this product, this medication may not be right for you.If you are taking sulfa antibiotics (such as Septra, Bactrim or erythromycin), discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider or pharmacist. In these cases, Silvadene may trigger an allergic reaction.
Silvadene may be contraindicated in people with certain liver, kidney, or blood disorders. These conditions may affect how the drug is metabolized and eliminated from the body. In some cases, the drug can build up in the body, and you and your healthcare provider will need to weigh the benefits of continuing or stopping treatment.
Be sure to let your healthcare provider know if you are pregnant, as Silvadene is not recommended for women who are at or near the due date of their pregnancy. That said, it’s worth noting that there are no solid studies on the use of creams during pregnancy.
In theory, sulfonamides may cause Kernicterus– Brain damage caused by excessive intake Bilirubin– Newborns. Therefore, pregnant women should only use this cream with the approval of their doctor.
Likewise, notify your healthcare provider if you are breastfeeding. It is not known whether simvastatin is excreted in breast milk, but because sulfonamides and their derivatives may cause kernicterus, it is recommended that you stop breastfeeding or use the drug.
How to Treat Minor Burns at Home with Natural Remedies
Silvaden, also known as silver sulfadiazine, defends against infectious agents by disrupting cell membranes and cell walls. This makes it effective in inhibiting the growth of bacteria. However, Silvadene also has its side effects, which can range from mild (such as itching and burning) to severe (such as unexplained bruising and bleeding). If you are allergic to sulfonamides, Silvaden may not be right for you. Keeping lines of communication open with your healthcare provider and calling with questions or side effects is important for a variety of reasons.
Like many people who use creams and ointments, you may be prone to overuse. After all, it’s hard to see a tiny 1/16-inch application. To prevent overapplication, practice applying the cream in front of your healthcare provider. They can give you a tip to make sure you apply just the right amount. For example, some suppliers recommend using a cotton swab or tongue depressor to apply the cream. Others draw a circle on a piece of paper and instruct their patients to fill it with cream before applying. Whichever method you take, make sure you feel confident about it before leaving your provider’s office. They are there to help you get things done.