Medicines for Bedsores

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An elderly man laying in bed with a younger man visiting. (Image: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images)

Bedsores, also referred to as pressure sores, pressure ulcers and decubitis ulcers, form after continued pressure over a bony area of the body. Due to the inability to change positions independently, bedridden or wheelchair-dependent individuals have an increased risk of developing bedsores. Areas of the body that can most commonly experience pressure ulcers include the heels and the hips, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Treatment for existing bedsores includes removal of all pressure from the area, dressing changes, controlling excessive moisture on the skin and medications.

Topical Antibacterial Medications

Antibacterial drugs help a pressure ulcer heal when other methods such as dressing changes and proper wound care fail to heal the wound. A physician may also prescribe antibacterial medications if the bedsore continues to seep after two weeks of appropriate wound care. Antibacterial preparations, such as silver sulfadiazine cream or mupirocin ointment, may help accelerate healing when applied directly to the wound bed two to three times per day for up to two weeks, according to the American Geriatrics Society.

Antibiotic Medications

Some bedsores become infected and cause additional infections in the surrounding tissue, muscles and bones or travel through the blood. Antibiotics given orally or intravenously help fight the infection. A culture of the wound can help determine the best antibiotic to treat the condition. Signs of an infected pressure ulcer include an increased amount of drainage from the wound, a foul smell, green or purulent drainage, redness around the skin, increased pain, and a fever. Active infections in a bedsore can delay healing. Due to shock and organ failure, infections involving the blood can become life-threatening without proper antibiotic medications. Bone infections may limit the function of the joint or limb, according to the Mayo Clinic. Infections involving the surrounding tissue, also called cellulitis, cause swelling, redness and pain in the affected area.

Pain Medication

Pressure ulcers may cause considerable pain for the affected individual. Taking oral pain medications can help ease the discomfort of the bedsore. Taking prescription medication about 30 minutes prior to a painful dressing change can help make the procedure more comfortable, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Infected bedsores, especially ones that spread to the surrounding tissues and bone, can cause increased pain. Some individuals may experience painful muscle spasms in the affected area. A muscle relaxant may help decrease the pain from the spasms.

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