What Is Mupirocin Ointment Used For

Mupirocin can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

Mupirocin

Mupirocin, an antibiotic, is used to treat impetigo as well as other skin infections caused by bacteria. It is not effective against fungal or viral infections.

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How should this medicine be used?

Mupirocin comes in an ointment that is applied to the skin. Mupirocin usually is applied three times a day for 1 to 2 weeks. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use mupirocin exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Wash the affected skin area thoroughly, and then gently apply a small amount (a thin film) of the ointment. You may cover the area with a sterile gauze dressing.

Do not apply mupirocin to your eyes.

Do not apply mupirocin to burns unless told to do so by your doctor.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before using mupirocin,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to mupirocin or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin).
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using mupirocin, call your doctor.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Mupirocin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • burning, stinging, pain, itching, or rash

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).

It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org

Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor. Mupirocin is for external use only. Do not let mupirocin ointment get into your eyes, nose, or mouth, and do not swallow it. Do not apply dressings, bandages, cosmetics, lotions, or other skin medications to the area being treated unless your doctor tells you.

Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish the mupirocin, call your doctor.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

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Brand names

  • Bactroban ®
  • Bactroban ® Nasal
  • Centany ® Nasal

Last Revised – 12/15/2017
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Mupirocin, Topical Ointment

Mupirocin is a prescription drug. It comes as a topical ointment and a topical cream.

Mupirocin topical ointment is available as the brand-name drug Centany. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name drug.

Mupirocin topical ointment may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to use it with other medications.

Why it’s used

Mupirocin topical ointment is used to treat impetigo. This is a skin infection caused by bacteria.

How it works

Mupirocin belongs to a class of drugs called topical antibacterials. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Mupirocin works to kill the bacteria that are causing your infection. These include strains of Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. Mupirocin stops the bacteria from multiplying.

Mupirocin topical ointment doesn’t cause drowsiness, but it can cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects of mupirocin topical ointment can include:

  • burning, stinging, pain, itching, rash, redness, dryness, tenderness, or swelling of the treated skin
  • nausea
  • increased oozing at the infection site

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Diarrhea that doesn’t go away. The diarrhea may be due to an infection caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile, which is often called C. difficile or C. diff.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare professional who knows your medical history.

An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. To help prevent interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking.

To find out how mupirocin topical ointment might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare professional about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

This drug comes with several warnings.

Allergy warning

Mupirocin can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing or swallowing
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • itching
  • body rash
  • chest tightness
  • skin on your face or body that’s pale or flushed (warm and red)
  • a panic attack or feeling that bad things are going to happen

If you develop these symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t use this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Using it again could be fatal (cause death).

Contact with drug warning

This drug can be transferred to other people if they touch your treated skin. Talk to your doctor about what you should do to prevent this from happening. One way to prevent drug transfer is to cover the treated area with a gauze dressing.

Warnings for other groups

For pregnant women: Mupirocin is a category B pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Studies of the drug in pregnant animals have not shown a risk to the fetus.
  2. There aren’t enough studies done in pregnant women to show if the drug poses a risk to the fetus.
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Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should be used only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk.

For women who are breastfeeding: It’s not known whether mupirocin passes into breast milk or causes side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop using this medication.

For children: Mupirocin topical ointment hasn’t been studied in children younger than 2 months.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if the treated skin doesn’t look better after 3 to 5 days.

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you use the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

Drug forms and strengths

Generic: Mupirocin

Brand: Centany

Dosage for impetigo

Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Typical dosage: A small amount of the ointment applied to the infected skin three times per day for up to 10 days.

Child dosage (ages 2 months to 17 years)

Typical dosage: A small amount of the ointment applied to the infected area of skin three times per day for up to 10 days.

Child dosage (ages 0–1 month)

This medication hasn’t been studied in children younger than 2 months of age.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.

Mupirocin topical ointment is used for short-term treatment. It comes with serious risks if you don’t use it as prescribed.

If you stop using the drug suddenly or don’t use it at all: Your infection may not improve, and it may get worse.

If you miss doses or don’t use the drug on schedule: Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. The bacteria that this drug is treating may also develop resistance. This means that your medication will no longer work to kill the bacteria. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be at the site of infection at all times.

If you use too much: The bacteria this drug is treating may develop resistance. This means that your medication will no longer work to kill the bacteria. If you think you’ve used too much of this drug, call your doctor.

What to do if you miss a dose: Apply your dose as soon as you remember. If you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, apply only one dose.

How to tell if the drug is working: Your infection should start to get better within 3 to 5 days of using this drug.

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes mupirocin for you.

General

  • Apply the drug three times per day, about every 8 hours.
  • Only apply this drug to your skin. Do not use the topical ointment in your nose.

Storage

  • Store mupirocin topical ointment at room temperature. Keep it between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C). Don’t freeze it.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t harm your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled container with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Availability

Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead to make sure your pharmacy carries it.

Hidden costs

You may need to buy gauze dressings to cover the area where you applied the mupirocin ointment.

Prior authorization

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor may need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

Last medically reviewed on August 23, 2021

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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