Generic Name: retapamulin topical (RE te PAM ue lin)
Brand Names: Altabax
Medically reviewed on May 4, 2018
What is Altabax?
Altabax (retapamulin) is an antibiotic that fights bacteria on the skin.
Altabax (for the skin) is used to treat an infection called impetigo (im-pe-TYE-go). Impetigo usually affects the nose, lips, or other areas of the face, but it may also affect other areas of the body.
Altabax may be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Do not use Altabax to treat any skin condition that has not been checked by your doctor. Do not share Altabax with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have. Impetigo is highly contagious and spreads easily from person to person. Each member of the household should be seen by a doctor if they start to show symptoms of impetigo. Stop using Altabax and call your doctor at once if you have severe burning, itching, redness, swelling, blistering, oozing, or other skin irritation where the medicine was applied.
Before using Altabax
You should not use Altabax if you are allergic to retapamulin.
FDA pregnancy category B. Altabax is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether retapamulin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use Altabax without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Do not use this medication on a child younger than 9 months old.
How should I use Altabax?
Use Altabax exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Apply a thin layer of Altabax twice daily for at least 5 days, and longer if your doctor instructs you to. You may cover the treated skin areas with a bandage or clean gauze after applying the medicine.
Wash your hands after applying this medicine, or after touching your skin lesions for any other reason. The bacteria that causes impetigo can infect any skin area that comes into contact with your lesions. Do not use Altabax to treat any skin condition that has not been checked by your doctor. This medicine will not be effective in treating many other types of skin infections.
Do not share Altabax with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have. Each member of the household should be seen by a doctor if they start to show symptoms of impetigo.
Use Altabax for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 3 to 4 days of treatment.
Store Altabax at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid?
Impetigo is highly contagious and spreads easily from person to person. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, washcloths, or razors with other people if you are infected with impetigo. Use a clean towel and washcloth each time you bathe to keep from reinfecting your own skin.
Avoid getting Altabax in your eyes, nose, or mouth, or inside your vagina. If this does happen, rinse with water.
Avoid using other medications on the areas you treat with Altabax unless your doctor tells you to.
Altabax side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Altabax: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using Altabax and call your doctor at once if you have severe burning, itching, redness, swelling, blistering, oozing, or other skin irritation where the medicine was applied.
Less serious Altabax side effects may include:
mild skin irritation;
stuffy nose, sore throat.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Altabax?
It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on topically applied Altabax. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Altabax only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.02.
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- Dosage Information
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- Drug class: topical antibiotics