Thermal, electrical, and chemical burns require different treatments and medications. Thermal burns require analgesics and topical antibiotics, whereas electrical burns require hydration. Medications have a limited role in the treatment of chemical burns. Be sure to discuss with your physician any drug allergies you may have, medications you are currently taking, and any existing medical conditions. Also be sure to inform your physician of any unusual or allergic reactions to any medications.
Thermal Burn Medications
For thermal burns, doctors will prescribe analgesics for pain control to ensure the patient is as comfortable as possible. Morphine sulfate, Demerol, and Vicodin may be prescribed for severe pain.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Agents
These are used for relief of mild to moderate pain. Ibuprofen such as Advil or Motrin is usually used for initial therapy, but other options such as Naproxen, Ansaid, and Anaprox may be prescribed.
Topical antibiotics are used to prevent infections and bacteria growth. Neosporin is used to treat minor infections and is applied to the skin one to three times a day to the affected areas.
Silvadene is a topical cream used for more severe burns. It is a sulfa medicine used to prevent and treat bacterial or fungal infections. Silvadene should be applied using a sterile technique to affected areas, and these areas should be washed before applying. Silvadene shouldn’t be used on the face, in late pregnancy, or in newborns and infants younger than two years old.
Chemical Burn Medications
Although medications play a limited role in the treatment of most chemical burns, topical antibiotics, calcium, and magnesium salts may be used. After decontamination, a standard IV fluid and narcotic therapy is administered.
Silvadene is used for dermal burns and is useful in the prevention of infections in second or third degree burns. It should be applied to skin once or twice daily, and all previous medication must be removed before applying each new dose. Erythromycin ointment (Bacitracin) is used to prevent infections following ocular burns.
Morphine and acetaminophen are prescribed for pain management and may be used for sedation, which is beneficial for patients who have sustained injuries to their eyes.
Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Agents
Advil, Motrin, Ansaid, Naprosyn, and Anaprox are anti-inflammatory agents used to control mild to moderate pain.
When treating electrical injuries, hydration is the key to reducing morbidity. If muscle damage is severe, an osmotic diuretic will be administered.
Lactated ringers are used for fluid resuscitation. They are an isotonic and have volume restorative properties. They are administered using an IV and should be stopped if pulmonary edema develops.
Mannitol is an osmotic diuretic that is not significantly metabolized, which means it passes through the glomerulus without being reabsorbed by the kidneys. It is used to restore and maintain urinary output.
Scar Treatment Medications
Mederma is a topical gel used to reduce the visibility of scars. The gel should be rubbed into the scar three to four times a day for three to six months for burn scars.
Cica-Care gel sheets are made of a silicone gel and are designed to flatten and soften scars. These sheets are self adhesive, and one sheet can be used for up to 28 days.