Single agents used to treat infections include:
(a) Erythromycin--one percent ointment (Ilotycin).
(b) Chloramphenicol--one percent cream (Chloromycetin).
Gentamicin--one-tenth percent cream/ointment (Garamycin).
(d) Bacitracin ointment.
(e) Neomycin ointment.
c. Antifungal Actions.
(1) General. A fungus is a plant-like organism of the same class to which
mushrooms and molds belong. They are everywhere in our environment, and those
that cause systemic infection are often geographically limited. Although fungi are
common plant pathogens, only about fifty of the thousands of known species are
pathogenic to humans.
(2) Antifungal agents. An antifungal is an agent that destroys or prevents
the growth of fungi. Some agents are used topically, while others are used
systemically. The successful treatment of fungal infections depends on accurate
identification of the offending fungus followed by proper selection and use of an
antifungal drug. Most superficial infections can be adequately treated with topical
therapy. Systemic fungal infections require the use of orally or intravenously
administered drugs, some of which are toxic.
Specific antifungal agents.
(a) Tolnaftate (Tinactin). This is a topical antifungal agent used in the
treatment of athlete's foot, jock itch, and ringworm. The dosage of the drug depends on
the extent of the affected area. Tolnaftate is available as a solution, cream, powder,
and as an aerosol powder. All containers should be labeled "FOR EXTERNAL USE
ONLY." This drug is especially useful in treating superficial fungal infections that are
resistant to other topical agents. Additionally, tolnaftate does not enter the patient's
system when applied to the skin and does not produce skin sensitivity.
(b) Undecylenic Acid (Desenex). This is an antifungal agent
employed in the treatment of superficial fungus infections of the skin. Since it is
fungistatic (an agent that inhibits growth of fungi) and not fungicidal (a substance that
destroys fungus), attention must be given to other forms of hygiene. This agent may
cause irritation on raw lesions; therefore, astringents are used to assist in reducing the
rawness and irritation. An example of such an astringent is zinc, which may be
incorporated into ointments, powders, and aerosols.