mupirocin, mupirocin calcium

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is mupirocin, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Mupirocin is an antibiotic that is used topically (on the skin) for the treatment of impetigo, a bacterial disease of the skin caused by Staphylococcus aureus, beta-hemolytic streptococcus and Streptococcus pyogenes. It also is used intranasally (inside the nose) by patients and some people who work in healthcare centers to eliminate methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that have colonized the inside of the nose.

Unlike most other antibiotics which act on either bacterial DNA or the walls of bacteria, mupirocin blocks the activity of an enzyme called isoleucyl-tRNA synthetase within the bacteria. This enzyme is necessary in order for the bacteria to make proteins. Without the ability to make proteins, the bacteria die. Because of its unique mechanism of action, there is little chance that bacteria will have become resistant to mupirocin because of exposure to other antibiotics. Mupirocin topical cream was approved by the FDA in December, 1987. The intranasal form was approved in October 1995.

What brand names are available for mupirocin?

Bactroban, Bactroban Nasal, Centany

Is mupirocin available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for mupirocin?

Yes

What are the uses for mupirocin?

Mupirocin is used for the treatment of impetigo and infections of the skin caused by Staphylococcus aureus, beta-hemolytic streptococcus or Streptococcus pyogenes. Mupirocin is not recommended for use on the skin in serious burns, because more of the vehicle (the inactive ingredient) used for the ointment, polyethylene glycol (Miralax), may be absorbed and can damage the kidneys. The nasal ointment  is used for the elimination of nasal Staphylococcus aureus that have become resistant to other antibiotics. Mupirocin also may be used for other infections as determined by the physician.

What are the side effects of mupirocin?

Side effects are uncommon and mild with mupirocin. The most frequent side effects are:

  • burning,
  • stinging,
  • pain, and
  • itching at the area of application.

Other side effects caused by the intranasal use of mupirocin include:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/11/2016

Quick GuideSymptoms of Mono: Infectious Mononucleosis Treatment

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