Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Fusidic acid

Fusidic acid contains an antibiotic which kills certain bacteria which can cause serious illness.


(Also known as sodium fusidate)

Fusidic acid is the active ingredient of Fucidin.

General information

Fusidic acid contains an antibiotic which kills certain bacteria which can cause serious illness. It is frequently prescribed to treat bone and joint infections, infections of the skin, soft tissue and wounds, pneumonia and septicaemia caused by organisms that are susceptible to fusidic acid.

Fusidic acid is often prescribed in combination with other antibiotics such as cloxacillin or erythromycin, to prevent the emergence of resistance and to broaden its spectrum of efficacy.

Besides being available in oral and injectable form, fusidic acid is also available as topical applications in the form of cream, ointment and eye drops and is effectively applied for the treatment of susceptible skin and ophthalmic infections.

To reduce the development of drug-resistant bacteria and maintain the effectiveness of fusidic acid and other antibacterial drugs, this antibiotic should be used only to treat or prevent infections that are proven or strongly suspected to be caused by bacteria.

How does fusidic acid work?

Fusidic acid kills bacteria as a result of abnormal protein production in the bacterial cell - it cannot produce any of its proteins correctly.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 4

Available as: fusidic acid is available as tablets, cream, ointment, eye drops and as injection

What does it do? Fusidic acid is an antibiotic

Overdose risk: low

Dependence risk: low

Is fusidic acid available as a generic? no

Is fusidic acid available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect: may take a few days for the full beneficial effect to be reached.

Duration of action: up to 12 hours.

Dietary advice: fusidic acid should best be taken with meals to minimised gastric discomfort.

Stopping this medicine: do not stop using fusidic acid before you have completed the course prescribed by your doctor, even if you begin to feel better, or notice an improvement.

Prolonged use: injectable form used for short periods only; topical form may be used for longer periods of time without any problems expected. Periodic liver function tests should be carried out when used in high doses or for prolonged periods.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have liver disease
  • you have shown any hypersensitivity reaction to the active ingredient before
  • you are allergic to any other antibiotic
  • you are taking other medication

* Patients taking the drug should tell their doctors if they notice that their urine is 'very dark', their faeces 'very pale' or if their skin or the whites of their eyes become yellow.

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: avoid. This medication may cause serious adverse effects. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: the oral or injectable version of this medication should only be used as prescribed by a paediatrician.

The elderly: no special precautions need to be taken.

Driving and hazardous work: no special precautions need to be taken.

Alcohol: no special precautions need to be taken.

Possible side effects

Side effect


Consult your doctor



Only if severe

In all cases




local stinging/burning









abdominal discomfort



loss of appetite



skin rash/ itch



difficulty breathing/ swallowing



swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body




Drug interactions

quinolone antibiotics i.e. ciprofloxacin

antibiotics counters each others' effect


increased action of fusidic acid

oral contraceptives

pill failure possible (with injection or tablets)

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have liver disease, you have shown any hypersensitivity reaction to fusidic acid before or if you are allergic to any other antibiotic.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage


Tablets: 500 - 1 000mg every 8 hours

As injection: patients > 50 kg: 500mg every 8 hours

Patients < 50 kg: 18-21 mg/kg/day in 3 divided doses

Skin/eye preparations: Apply twice daily to the affected area


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