Mupirocin, Topical Ointment

Mupirocin, Topical Ointment

What Is Mupirocin?

Mupirocin is a topical antibiotic used to treat infections caused by bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus (strep throat), Klebsiella pneumoniae (klepto) and Acinetobacter baumannii (bacteria found in soil). Mupirocin is commonly known as “motor oil” because it works by killing or inhibiting bacterial cell walls.

How Does Mupirocin Work?

Mupirocin kills or inhibits the growth of bacteria cells. When applied topically, mupirocin acts quickly to kill bacteria and prevent further infection. It may take up to 24 hours before symptoms appear due to the time it takes for the drug to work its way through your body.

When Should I Use Mupirocin?

The most common reason why people use mupirocin is to treat staph infections. If you have a sore throat, then you should not apply mupirocin to your skin unless there are no other options available. Also, if you have a cold or flu like symptoms, then you should avoid applying mupirocin directly to your skin since it may cause allergic reactions.

You should not use mupirocin to treat large skin wounds or serious burns since it will only treat the area where it is applied. If you have a large wound, you will need a stronger topical antibiotic such as Fucidin which can be used on large wounds or even dry sockets.

Mupirocin is also used to prevent infection after surgery such as nasal surgery, especially if prolonged exposure to bacteria is expected.

How Do I Apply Mupirocin?

Mupirocin is available as a topical ointment that is typically applied to the skin. Since mupirocin can cause temporary burning or irritation, it should only be applied one to three times daily and only on affected areas. Each brand may have different instructions about how to apply mupirocin, so be sure to read the package for details.

What Precautions Should I Follow When Using Mupirocin?

Mupirocin can cause skin irritation so you should not apply it to broken or irritated skin. You should wash the application site and let it air dry before using mupirocin. It may also burn if you have a rash, so be sure to let the area air dry and talk to your doctor.

Mupirocin may also cause some people to become dizzy or lightheaded. If this happens, sit down and avoid driving or operating machinery until the symptoms have passed.

Who Should Not Use Mupirocin?

You should not use mupirocin if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the medication. You should also not use mupirocin if you are allergic to peanuts or peanut oil since it contains this ingredient.

Mupirocin can be absorbed through the skin, so women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use it at all. It is also not recommended for children less than 2 months of age due to the risk of breathing problems caused by the drug.

How Long Do The Effects Of Mupirocin Last?

Mupirocin is generally effective for 24 hours, so you do not need to worry about it wearing off before you get the chance to reapply.

What Are The Side Effects Of Mupirocin?

The most common side effect of using mupirocin is skin irritation. Your skin may become red, dry or itchy after using mupirocin. You can usually treat these side effects by washing the mupirocin site and using a mild moisturizer.

Less common side effects can include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and fast heartbeat. If you experience any of these symptoms or rash, stop using mupirocin and contact your doctor immediately.

Can Mupirocin Be Used With Other Medicines?

Mupirocin can be used with other medicines such as Tetracycline or Dosing. However, if you are using a medicine that dries up your skin such as an acne medication, then you should not use mupirocin. The combination can cause severe skin damage or irritation.

What If I Forget To Use Mupirocin?

If you forget to an application of mupirocin, you can usually apply it about eight hours later. Be sure to follow the directions on the package or your prescription label.

What If I Apply Too Much Mupirocin?

Since mupirocin is applied to the skin, it is not likely that you will use too much of it. However, if you apply too much you may experience skin irritation or other side effects. If you notice that your skin is becoming irritated or redness or peeling occurs, be sure to wash the area with mild soap and water. Let it air dry and apply a non-medicated moisturizer.

What Happens If I Overdose?

It is not likely that you will overdose on mupirocin, but if you do, call your doctor or poison control immediately.

Are There Any Long-Term Effects?

Mupirocin is a topical cream that does not bring about long-term or irreversible effects. It is applied for a relatively short period of time, so there is very little chance of developing a dependency on it.

What If I Have More Questions About Mupirocin?

If you have any more questions about mupirocin, be sure to contact your doctor.

Last Updated: 08/2015

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Sources & references used in this article:

Efficacy of a new cream formulation of mupirocin: comparison with oral and topical agents in experimental skin infections by J Gisby, J Bryant – Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy, 2000 – Am Soc Microbiol

Mupirocin by A Ward, DM Campoli-Richards – Drugs, 1986 – Springer

Topical 2% mupirocin versus 2% fusidic acid ointment in the treatment of primary and secondary skin infections by M Gilbert – Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 1989 – Elsevier

Development of microsponges for topical delivery of mupirocin by N Amrutiya, A Bajaj, M Madan – Aaps Pharmscitech, 2009 – Springer

Comparison of oral cephalexin, topical mupirocin and topical bacitracin for treatment of impetigo by JW Bass, DS Chan, KM Creamer… – The Pediatric …, 1997 – journals.lww.com

Development of Mupirocin Resistance Among Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus After Widespread Use of Nasal Mupirocin Ointment by MA Miller, A Dascal, J Portnoy… – Infection Control & …, 1996 – cambridge.org

A randomized controlled trial comparing mupirocin and polysporin triple ointments in peritoneal dialysis patients: the MP3 Study by RF McQuillan, E Chiu, S Nessim, CE Lok… – Clinical Journal of the …, 2012 – Am Soc Nephrol