How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Sulfacetamide - sulfur belongs to the class of medications called acne therapy. It is used to treat severe acne, bacterial folliculitis (infection of hair follicles), seborrheic dermatitis (flaky, itchy red skin on the face, scalp, and trunk), and related conditions.

The sulfur products contained in this medication kill bacteria and cause the skin to dry and peel, revealing healthier skin. This medication may cause redness, dry skin, and peeling for the first few days as your body adjusts to it. You may notice improvement in your condition within a week or two, but the full effects will not be seen for a few weeks.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are being given this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each mL of lotion contains sodium sulfacetamide 10% w/v, colloidal sulfur 5% w/v. Nonmedicinal ingredients: 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (Bronopol), attapulgite, butylparaben, diethanolamine, hydroxyethyl cellulose, iron oxides, lauric myristic, methylparaben, naphthalene sulfonic acid, polyethylene glycol, polyethylene glycol monolaurate, precipitated sulfur, propylene glycol, purified water, silicone emulsion, sodium chloride, sodium metabisulfite, talc, xanthan gum, and zinc oxide.

How should I use this medication?

Clean the affected area with a gentle soap or cleanser first. Before using, shake the lotion well. Apply a thin layer to the affected area with your fingertips 2 or 3 times daily. Wash your hands after use. Avoid contact with the eyes and do not get this medication inside your nose or mouth.

Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are applying the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, apply it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Sulfacetamide - sulfur should not be used by anyone who:

  • is allergic to sulfacetamide, sulfur, or to any of the ingredients of the medication
  • is allergic to sulfonamide-type medications

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

  • dry, red , scaling, or peeling skin

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Eyes: Keep the lotion away from your eyes.

General: This medication is for external use only. Avoid contact with the mouth and nose.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between sulfacetamide - sulfur and any of the following:

  • BCG
  • other medications applied to the skin

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.