Mafenide (Topical)

Predominantly used to treat burns, Mafenide prevent fungal or bacterial infections from forming at the burn site and encourages the healing of deep burns.


As an antibiotic, Mafenide is effective against both gram positive and negative bacteria. Due to this, Mafenide can be used to treat or prevent various types of bacterial infections. In addition to this, Mafenide can be used to prevent and/or treat fungal infections.

When a patient suffers burns, their skin can be severely damaged. In some instances, burns cause the skin cells to die and the patient's flesh may be exposed. Although skin grafts can be used to effectively replace lost skin at the burn site, the recovery process can be lengthy. During this time, broken or damaged skin and exposed flesh can be susceptible to infections.

If an infection is able to take hold, it could put the patient in a life-threatening situation. In order to prevent this from happening, Mafenide can be used as a topical cream to prevent fungal and bacterial infections from developing. When Mafenide is applied to deep burns, it can also promote healing and increase the speed at which the patient recovers.

Although Mafenide can be used on severe burns, it can also be used to treat patients who have suffered second or third-degree burns. As these can also be susceptible to infections, patients may need treatment with Mafenide to ensure that their burns heal without further complications.

When applied to the skin, Mafenide reduces the amount of bacteria at the burn site and in the burn tissue. With fewer bacteria present, the patient is less likely to develop an infection in the affected area.

In most cases, Mafenide is prescribed in conjunction with other medications. If people are recovering from burns, for example, they may be treated with numerous medications at the same time. This provides effective symptom management and ensures that they aren't in severe pain as a result of their injuries.

When a patient has suffered severe burns or when burns have affected a large proportion of the patient's body, they must be treated in hospital. Generally, patients will be admitted to hospital as an inpatient in order to be treated for these types of injuries. However, if patients have experienced more minor burns, they may be assessed and treated by a doctor and then discharged to return home. If patients are able to return home, they may still be prescribed Mafenide. As the medication can be applied topically, patients or their caregivers are able to administer the medicine at home and can prevent the burn site from becoming infected.

Conditions Treated

  • Burns

Type Of Medicine

  • Sulfonamide-type medicine

Side Effects

Like most medications, Mafenide can cause some side-effects when it is used to treat patients. For example, patients may experience the following adverse effects after Mafenide has been applied:

  • Blisters
  • Softening of the skin
  • Flushing
  • Burning feeling or pain on the affected area(s)
  • Raised red swellings on the lips, skin, tongue, or in the throat
  • Swelling
  • Redness of skin
  • Unusually warm skin
  • Skin rash

If the above side-effects are fairly mild, they may not require additional treatment. Often, these side-effects are present when patients are first treated with Mafenide but dissipate over time. However, if the patient's side-effects persist or if they are severe, they should notify their physician.

Similarly, patients should notify a doctor or nurse immediately if they experience the following side-effects when using Mafenide:

  • Itching
  • Skin redness or rash
  • Bleeding or oozing of the skin
  • Swelling of skin or face
  • Drowsiness
  • Troubled breathing
  • Deep, fast breathing
  • Swollen glands
  • Nausea
  • Tarry, black stools
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Sore throat
  • Chills
  • Hoarseness or cough
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Dark urine
  • Unusual weakness or tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Sensitivity to the sun
  • Fever
  • Difficulty or painful urination
  • Skin thinness
  • Numbness of the hands, feet or around the mouth
  • Fluid-filled skin blisters
  • Pain in the lower back or side
  • Light-colored stools
  • Ulcers, white spots or sores in the mouth or on the lips
  • Wheezing

If patients experience any other side-effects during their treatment with Mafenide, they should obtain medical advice.


If patients are prescribed Mafenide as a cream, they are typically advised to apply it to the affected area(s) once or twice per day. This usually applies to adult patients and pediatric patients over the age of two months, but doctors may modify the patient's dose if they feel it is necessary to do so.

Alternatively, Mafenide can be prescribed in the form of a solution and can be used on patients over the age of three months. If patients are prescribed Mafenide solution, they are usually advised to apply it to the affected area(s) every four to eight hours, as needed. When using Mafenide solution, patients are generally advised to keep their dressing wet with the medication.

If patients are receiving treatment in hospital, Mafenide will be administered by a healthcare professional. However, if patients are prescribed Mafenide cream or solution for home-use, they will need to follow their doctor's instructions when applying it.

Before Mafenide is applied, patients are generally advised to cleanse the affected area(s) and to remove any burned or dead skin which may be present. When applying the cream or solution, patients should wear a disposable sterile glove. This ensures that the area is kept clean and germ-free.

If patients are using Mafenide cream, they are usually advised to apply a thin layer to the affected area(s). Alternatively, Mafenide solution can be applied to their dressing. If patients are using Mafenide solution, they should use enough to keep the dressing wet. The burn site should be covered by the medication at all times.

If doctors have authorized patients to shower or bath, Mafenide may wash off during this time. Similarly, Mafenide cream or solution can be rubbed off as the patient moves around. If this happens, patients are generally advised to apply more solution or cream to the relevant areas.

It is important that patient's continue to use Mafenide until they are advised to stop by their physician. If patients stop using Mafenide too early, they could develop an infection or an existing infection could recur. Generally, patients are advised to use Mafenide cream or solution until the area has healed or until a skin graft is carried out.

It is important that patients administer doses of Mafenide regularly but, if they forget to apply a dose of Mafenide, they should do so as soon as they remember. However, if their next dose of Mafenide is due relatively soon, patients should simply skip the missed dose and continue with their normal treatment schedule.

If patients are unsure how to use Mafenide, they should contact their physician or pharmacist for advice.

Potential Drug Interactions

When patients are treated with Mafenide, they are typically given other medications as well. However, some medications may interact with Mafenide and could cause unwanted effects. Before patients are treated with this medication, they should tell their physician if they are taking or using any other medicines, vitamins or supplements.

Due to the risk of an interaction occurring, Mafenide should not be used in conjunction with the following medicine:

  • Methenamine

Once patients have started using Mafenide cream or solution, they should seek medical advice before using any new medicines, supplements or vitamins.


If patients have any other medical conditions, they should notify their physician before they treated with Mafenide. Similarly, patients should disclose their medical history to their doctor before they use Mafenide. There are some conditions which can affect treatment with this medication and they may include:

  • Kidney problems
  • Blood problems
  • Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency
  • Metabolic acidosis
  • Lung problems

Although Mafenide can be used to treat pediatric patients, it is not recommended for use in patients who are under the age of two months. Using Mafenide or other sulfonamide-type drugs on infants under the age of two months can cause liver problems.

If patients are being treated in hospital, they will be regularly monitored by doctors and nurses. However, if patients are using Mafenide at home, they will need to have regular check-ups with their doctor to ensure the medication is working effectively.

When patients are being treated for severe burns or burns affected a large part of their body, their symptoms should improve within a few weeks of being treated with Mafenide. For less serious or smaller burns, Mafenide can reduce the patient's symptoms within a few days.

However, if the patient's symptoms do not show signs of improvement within an appropriate timeframe or if they worsen, patients should seek medical advice.

Mafenide should only be prescribed to pregnant patients if the benefits outweigh the risks. As Mafenide is a category C drug in relation to pregnancy, the risk of harm to the unborn fetus cannot be ruled out.

If patients become pregnant when using Mafenide, they should notify their doctor immediately.

It is not known if Mafenide is excreted in breast milk or what harm it could cause to an infant if it was transferred in this way. Due to this, patients are advised not to breastfeed whilst using this medication. Patients should obtain medical advice before resuming breastfeeding after their treatment with Mafenide.

In rare cases, patients may exhibit an allergic reaction while being treated with Mafenide. If so, they will require emergency medical treatment. The symptoms of an allergic reaction may include:

  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rash on the skin
  • Itching
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swelling of the face, lips, hands, mouth, tongue or throat


If patients are prescribed Mafenide for home-use, they should store the medication in a safe location and in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. It is important that children and/or pets cannot gain access to Mafenide or any other medicines.

Generally, Mafenide can be kept at room temperature but patients should ensure that the medication is protected from light, heat and moisture.

If patients are advised to stop using Mafenide or if the medicine reaches its use-by date, patients should dispose of it. Medications should not be thrown out with regular household waste. Instead, patients should contact their physician's office or pharmacist and use a specialist medicine disposal service.


After suffering burns, it's not uncommon for patients to develop infections. However, infections can be extremely dangerous if the patient has already suffered significant trauma, such as a burn. Due to this, it's vital that prophylactic medicine, such as Mafenide, is used to prevent an infection from occurring.

By using Mafenide to treat existing infections or to prevent infections from developing, physicians can reduce the patient's recovery time and ensure that they don't suffer from any further complications.