What is Santyl&Reg; Ointment?

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  • Written By: K.C. Bruning
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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Santyl® ointment is commonly prescribed to slough away dead skin from burned areas and wounds in order to aid the healing process. It can also be used to treat lesions on the skin known as chronic dermal ulcers. Depending on the nature of the injury, it may be prescribed to be used with an antibiotic powder. Santyl® is a brand name for the drug collagenase.

The ointment works through a process called enzymatic debriding. The enzymes in the medication degenerate the dead skin around the wound by consuming the collagen in the tissue. By clearing the area, the drug enables new skin to grow, which helps speed the healing process.

Santyl® ointment is typically applied once a day, though it can be applied more often if the wound dressing is particularly soiled. Before the ointment is applied, all easily removable dead skin is manually cleared away from the wound site. This is usually done with a doctor-recommended cleaning solution, such as saline on a gauze pad, and possibly with forceps and scissors, depending on the condition of the wound. Large scabs may also be scored with a special knife so that the ointment can absorb more completely. If there is an infection in the wound area, antibiotic powder is often applied before the Santyl® ointment.


Some conditions may make using Santyl® ointment too risky or require that a doctor observe the patient more closely while using the drug. Women who are nursing, pregnant, or may potentially become pregnant are usually not allowed to take the drug. Patients with several allergies or who are not in good health may also be poor candidates for the drug.

Santyl® ointment can also have a negative interaction with certain drugs and supplements. As silver and mercury can reduce the effectiveness of the ointment, products with these ingredients, such as some kinds of antiseptics, should be avoided. Patients should also disclose all herbal supplements and medications currently being taken to the prescribing doctor.

There are no commonly reported side effects to using Santyl® ointment. The drug is known to cause some severe side effects, all of which should receive immediate medical attention. These include any signs of an allergic reaction, including swelling in the face, hives, itching, rash, a tight chest, or breathing problems. Patients may also get an infection, which is typically indicated by chills, fever, or a lingering sore throat that.


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Post 3

I was using Santyl and became worried when the skin around my burn turned pink. I asked my doctor though and he said that it's normal.

Post 2

@turkay1-- You'll have to ask your dad's doctor about that. When I was treated with Santyl collagenase ointment in the hospital, it was used only until the dead tissue was cleared away. The nurse was also applying antibiotic powder on it. After the dead tissue was gone, I was switched to a different ointment.

I think how long Santyl is used depends on the type of wound and how the wound is responding to it.

Post 1

My dad has been on bed rest since his colostomy and now he has a bed sore from lying down all the time. The doctor gave Santyl collagenase ointment to use on it. We've been applying it once a day for three days now and the sore is looking better. The dead skin is slowly going away. How long should we keep using this ointment for? Until the sore is completely gone or until the dead skin is gone?

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