Pharmacology of sulfadiazine silver. Its attachment to burned human and rat skin and studies of gastrointestinal absorption and extension

Arch Surg. 1979 Mar;114(3):281-5. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.1979.01370270051008.


The attachment of Ag110-labeled sulfadiazine silver (AgSU) to the burn wound of humans and full and partial thickness scald burns of rats was studied over time. The duration of Ag adherence to burned skin and the absorption and organ distribution of ingested AgSU was studied. Peak attachment to human burns was 1% of the administered dose in 24 hours. Rat wounds showed greater attachment. Dissections of the wounds showed 81% to 98.7% of this attachment to be in the most superficial layers of cells and no silver was observed in organs of surface-treated animals. Duration of attachment after one application was until wound slough with percent attachment dropping from 5% to 1.7% over that time. Oral ingestion resulted in substantial silver deposition, particularly in liver and lungs. Clearance occurs in three weeks. The basic function of AgSU may be through the slow release of silver into the superficial wound environment.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Burns / drug therapy
  • Burns / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption*
  • Mafenide / therapeutic use
  • Rats
  • Silver Sulfadiazine / administration & dosage
  • Silver Sulfadiazine / metabolism*
  • Silver Sulfadiazine / therapeutic use
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Sulfadiazine / metabolism*


  • Sulfadiazine
  • Mafenide
  • Silver Sulfadiazine