- Bacterial Infections 101 Pictures Slideshow
- Take the Tummy Trouble Quiz
- Hepatitis C Slideshow Pictures
- What is mupirocin? How does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What are the uses for mupirocin?
- What are the side effects of mupirocin?
- What is the dosage for mupirocin?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with mupirocin?
- Is mupirocin safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about mupirocin?
What is mupirocin? 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 that 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 are the uses for mupirocin?
- Mupirocin is a drug 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 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 multi-drug resistant nasal Staphylococcus aureus infection in people who are colonized by Staphylococcus aureus. Mupirocin also may be used for secondary infections as determined by your doctor.
What are the side effects of mupirocin?
Side effects are uncommon and mild with mupirocin. The most frequent side effects are:
- Itching at the area of application
Other side effects caused by the intranasal use of mupirocin include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Dry skin
- Swelling (edema)
- Changes in taste perception
- Nasal irritation
What is the dosage for mupirocin?
For the treatment of impetigo, a small amount of the ointment is applied to the affected area, usually three times daily (every 8 hours). The area may be covered with a sterile gauze dressing. If there is no improvement in 3-5 days the doctor should be contacted to re-examine the infected area.
For other skin infections, the cream is applied to the affected area 3 times a day for 10 days, and the doctor should be contacted as well if there is no improvement after 3-5 days.
When mupirocin is used for treating intranasal Staphylococcus aureus that are resistant to other antibiotics, patients who are age 12 years and older require the application of about half of the ointment from a single-use tube of ointment into one nostril and the other half into the other nostril. This treatment is repeated twice daily for 5 days. Currently, there is not enough information to recommend use of mupirocin for the treatment of intranasal Staphylococcus aureus in children younger than 12 years of age.
Which drugs or supplements interact with mupirocin?
Is mupirocin safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- There are no adequate studies of mupirocin in pregnant women; however, studies in animals suggest no important effects on the fetus. Mupirocin, therefore, can be used in pregnancy if the physician feels that it is necessary.
- There is no information on the safety of mupirocin in nursing infants. It is unknown if any of the small amount of mupirocin that is absorbed from the skin into the blood of the mother concentrates in breast milk. It is advisable, therefore, not to nurse while using mupirocin.
What else should I know about mupirocin?
- Mupirocin is available as:
- Topical Ointment: 2% (20 mg/g).
- Topical Cream: 2% (20 mg/g).
- Nasal ointment: 2% (20 mg/g).
- Mupirocin tablets should be stored at room temperature, 15 C-30 C (59 F-86 F).
- Mupriocin is available in generic form.
- You need to get a prescription from your doctor to obtain it.
- Brand names for mupirocin available in the US are Bactroban Nasal and Centany. Bactroban has been discontinued in the US.
Mupirocin (generic) Bactroban Nasal, Centany (brands) is an antibiotic that is used topically for the treatment of impetigo, MRSA, and staph infections. The nasal spray may be prescribed for individuals that come into contact with patients infected with MRSA, or other infectious diseases. Drug interactions and side effects should be reviewed prior to taking this mupirocin. Bactroban has been discontinued in the US.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
What Is a Staph Infection? Symptoms, Pictures
Do you know what a staph infection is? Learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of staph infections (Staphylococcus...
MRSA Quiz: Infection Symptoms & Treatment
It's the MRSA Quiz! For the carriers among us, you'd be surprised that the infectious superbug is lurking on this body part! Take...
Picture of Cystic Acne
Cystic acne is a type of abscess that is formed when oil ducts become clogged and infected. See a picture of Cystic Acne and...
Related Disease Conditions
The word "rash" means an outbreak of red bumps on the body. The way people use this term, "a rash" can refer to many different...
Staph Infection (Staphylococcus Aureus)
Staphylococcus or staph is a group of bacteria that can cause a multitude of diseases. Staph infections can cause illness...
Boils (Skin Abscesses)
A boil is a skin abscess, a collection of pus localized deep in the skin. There are several different types of boils. Among them...
Eczema is a general term for many types dermatitis (skin inflammation). Atopic dermatitis is the most common of the many types of...
Impetigo is a contagious skin infection caused by staph and strep bacteria. There are two types of impetigo: nonbullous and...
MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria causes skin infections with the following signs and symptoms:...
Cystic acne is distinguised by painful nodules on the chest, face, neck, and back. This formo of acne is known to scar. Treatment...
Group A streptococcal infections are caused by group A streptococcus, a bacteria that causes a variety of health problems,...
Antibiotic Resistance (Drug Resistance, Antimicrobial Resistance)
Drug resistance (antimicrobial resistance) is the ability of bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses to grow, even in the...
Treatment & Diagnosis
- MRSA FAQs
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
FDA Prescribing Information