How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Zinc oxide is a topical skin product that is used as a protective coating for mild skin irritations and abrasions. It can promote the healing of chapped skin and diaper rash. Zinc oxide works as a mild astringent and has some antiseptic properties.
Zinc oxide is commonly used to prevent or to treat diaper rash by forming a protective barrier between the skin and the diaper. Moderate concentrations (e.g., 15%) are usually used for prevention and maintenance of diaper rash. Higher concentrations (up to 40%) may have absorptive properties and are usually used for treatment of diaper rash.
Your doctor or pharmacist 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 pharmacist or are not sure why you are using this medication, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
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?
Zincoderm Ointment is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada. For brands that may still be available, search under zinc oxide. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.
How should I use this medication?
This medication is normally applied to the affected areas several times daily on an as needed basis. Be sure to wash the affected area with soap and water and dry thoroughly before applying zinc oxide.
To treat diaper rash, zinc oxide is normally applied at every diaper change until the redness disappears. To prevent diaper rash from occurring, zinc oxide is normally applied daily. For best results, be sure to change your baby's diaper frequently and keep the area clean and dry.
It is important that this medication be used or given exactly as recommended by your doctor or pharmacist.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, 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?
Zinc oxide should not be used by anyone who is allergic to zinc oxide or to any of the ingredients of the medication.
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.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- skin sensitivity or irritation
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- symptoms that do not go away after a few days of treatment
- worsening of symptoms (increased redness or skin irritation, worsening rash)
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.
External use: This medication is for external use only. If it comes into contact with eyes, thoroughly rinse them with water.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that 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. 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. In many cases, interactions are intended or are managed by close monitoring. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.