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Topical antibiotics: Nursing Pharmacology

Notes

Notes

TOPICAL ANTIBIOTICS
DRUG NAME
bacitracin-polymyxin B (Polysporin)
mafenide (Sulfamylon)

silver sulfadiazine (Silvadene, SSD)
CLASS
Topical antibiotics
MECHANISM OF ACTION
Interferes with bacterial growth
Blocks bacterial proliferation by inhibiting their cell wall synthesis
Kills bacteria by acting on their cell membrane and wall
INDICATIONS
Burns, skin infections
ROUTE(S) OF ADMINISTRATION
TOP
SIDE EFFECTS
  • Skin irritation
  • Urticaria
  • Skin irritation
  • Burning sensation
  • Urticaria
  • Swelling
  • Metabolic acidosis
  • Hemolytic anemia (G6PD deficiency)
  • Burning sensation
  • Temporary black discoloration
  • Erythema multiforme
  • Skin necrosis
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis
  • Leukopenia
  • Interstitial nephritis
CONTRAINDICATIONS AND CAUTIONS
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Eczema
  • Viral skin infections
  • Prolonged use
  • Mafenide acetate: G6PD deficiency, pulmonary or renal disease
NURSING CONSIDERATIONS: TOPICAL ANTIBIOTICS
ASSESSMENT AND MONITORING
All topical antibiotics
  • Assess the affected area
    • Location and size of wound, laceration, incision
    • Presence of drainage, odor, redness, warmth, swelling, pain
    • Sutures / staples intact
    • Edges of wound approximated
CLIENT EDUCATION
All topical antibiotics
  • Purpose of medication: prevent infection
  • Avoid immersing the wound in water
  • Application technique
    • Wash hands before and after application
    • Cleanse with mild soap and water; gently pat dry
    • Apply the medication
    • Cover it with a sterile dressing as directed
    • Avoid mucous membranes like the eyes and nose
  • Side effects: mild skin irritation or itching
  • Report: increase in side effects; redness, swelling, warmth, bleeding, purulent discharge, dehiscence
Transcript

Topical antibiotics are medications used to prevent or treat infections in damaged skin, including burns, wounds, cuts, or scrapes, as well as surgical incisions.

Some of the most commonly used topical antibiotics include bacitracin-polymyxin B, as well as mafenide acetate, and silver sulfadiazine.

These are non-prescription antibiotics that are applied locally in the form of an ointment. Once applied, they prevent infections by interfering with bacterial growth and proliferation.

In terms of side effects, topical use of bacitracin-polymyxin B usually doesn’t cause any adverse reactions, but some clients may present with mild skin irritation or urticaria.

On the other hand, mafenide can cause mild skin irritation and a burning sensation. Less frequent but more severe side effects include hypersensitivity reactions leading to urticaria, as well as swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Mafenide can also cause metabolic acidosis, and some clients with G6PD deficiency have developed fatal hemolytic anemia with disseminated intravascular coagulation.

Lastly, silver sulfadiazine can leave a temporary black discoloration skin, and can cause a burning sensation, a skin rash like erythema multiforme, or even skin necrosis.

Finally, systemic absorption of silver sulfadiazine has also been associated with severe hypersensitivity reactions, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis, as well as leukopenia, and interstitial nephritis.

Topical antibiotics should be used with caution during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as in clients with a history of other skin conditions, such as eczema, and viral skin infections like herpes, varicella, or shingles.

In addition, prolonged use of topical antibiotics is not recommended, since it can result in bacterial or fungal superinfection.

Finally, mafenide should also be used with caution in clients with G6PD deficiency, as well as pulmonary or renal disease.

Okay, when your client is prescribed a topical antibiotic to prevent or treat infection of a skin wound, first assess the affected area, making note of the presence of any drainage, odor, redness, warmth, swelling, or pain.

Sources
  1. "Focus on Nursing Pharmacology" LWW (2019)
  2. "Pharmacology" Elsevier Health Sciences (2014)
  3. "Mosby's 2021 Nursing Drug Reference" Mosby (2020)
  4. "Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination" Saunders (2016)
  5. "Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 13th Edition" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2017)