Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Choosing a suitable wound dressing

Sorbsan Silver dressingA 75-year old woman fell over and cut her leg. She presents today with a prescription for Sorbsan Silver dressing (pictured right) for the wound.

You are concerned about the high number of prescriptions you have been seeing for this dressing and decide to review this case.

On inspection, the wound is yellow and sloughy with a low exudate. There are no signs of infection, such as pain, swelling, localised heat or redness. The wound does not smell and is approximately 4cm by 3cm.


Is this dressing appropriate for this patient’s wound?

Appendix 8 in BNF 58 (Wound management products and elasticated garments) explains that Sorbsan Silver dressings are made from calcium alginate fibre and silver. These dressings are highly absorbent so are suitable for use on moderate to heavily exuding wounds, and they promote autolytic debridement in very moist wounds. Because this patient’s wound has a low exudate, it does not require such an absorbent dressing.

The silver ions in the Sorbsan Silver dressing exert an antimicrobial effect in the presence of wound exudate. Antimicrobial dressings containing silver should be used only when there are clinical signs or symptoms of infection. A dressing containing silver is, therefore, not necessary for this wound.

You decide to review the patient’s dressing with her district nurse. Which dressings should you recommend?

According to the table on wound contact material for different types of wounds in Appendix 8, either a hydrogel dressing (eg, ActiFormCool, Hydrosorb) or a hydrocolloid dressing (eg, Comfeel Plus, NuDERM, Granuflex Bordered, Hydrocoll Border) can be used. These dressings will help hydrate this lightly exuding wound.

BNF 58Adapted from BNF 58 Update, an e-learning module produced by the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education and the British National Formulary.

BNF 58 Update is now available at

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11008987

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Patient Care in Community Practice

    Patient Care in Community Practice

    Patient Care in Community Practice is a unique, practical guide for healthcare professionals or carers. Covers a range of non-medicinal products suitable for use at home.

    £22.00Buy now
  • Prescribing Medicines for Children

    Prescribing Medicines for Children

    Prescribing Medicines for Children is designed to improve understanding on all aspects of paediatric prescribing, from the development of suitable drugs through to their practical administration.

    £60.00Buy now

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.