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Generic Name: mupirocin (Nasal route)


Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Bactroban

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Ointment

Therapeutic Class: Antibiotic

Uses For Bactroban

Mupirocin nasal ointment is used to treat or prevent infections in the nose due to certain strains of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. This medicine works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth.

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This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using Bactroban

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.


Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of mupirocin nasal ointment in children. Safety has not been established in children younger than 12 years of age.


No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of mupirocin nasal ointment in the geriatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Interactions with Medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Diarrhea—Use with caution. May make this condition worse.

Proper Use of Bactroban

It is very important that you use this medicine only as directed by your doctor. Do not use more of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. This medicine is not for long-term use.

This medicine is for use only in the nose. Do not get any of it in your eyes or on your skin. If it does get on these areas, rinse well with water right away.

To help clear up your skin infection completely, keep using mupirocin for the full time of treatment, even if your symptoms have disappeared. Do not miss any doses.

To use the nasal ointment

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after using this medicine.
  • Apply approximately 1/2 of the ointment from the single-use tube directly from the tube into one nostril. Then apply the remainder of the ointment directly into the other nostril.
  • Close your nostrils by pressing the sides of the nose together and then releasing them. Do this over and over again for approximately 1 minute. You may also press the sides of the nose together and gently massage the nose. These will help spread the medicine throughout the inside of the nostrils.
  • Throw away the tube after each use.


The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For nasal dosage form (ointment):
    • For Staphylococcus aureus ("staph") infections in the nose:
      • Adults and children 12 years of age and older—Apply approximately 1/2 of the ointment from a single-use tube squeezed into each nostril two times a day (morning and evening) for 5 days.
      • Children younger than 12 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.


Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Do not refrigerate.

Precautions While Using Bactroban

If your nasal infection does not improve or if it becomes worse, check with your doctor.

This medicine may cause diarrhea, and in some cases it can be severe. It may occur 2 months or more after you stop using this medicine. Do not take any medicine to treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor. If you have any questions or if mild diarrhea continues or gets worse, check with your doctor.

Do not use any other medicine in your nose without first checking with your doctor.

If severe irritation occurs in your nose, stop using this medicine and tell your doctor right away.

Bactroban Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

  • Bloody nose
  • rash
Incidence not known
  • Abdominal or stomach tenderness
  • cough
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • dizziness
  • fast heartbeat
  • fever
  • hives or welts, itching, or skin rash
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • redness of the skin
  • severe abdominal or stomach cramps and pain
  • tightness in the chest
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • watery and severe diarrhea, which may also be bloody

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • Headache
  • ear pain
Less common
  • Burning or stinging in the nose
  • change in taste
  • itching
  • sore throat
  • stuffy or runny nose

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

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