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Bacitracin (Topical)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 5, 2020.


(bas i TRAY sin)

Dosage Forms

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling.

Ointment, External, as zinc [strength expressed as base]:

Generic: 500 units/g (1 ea, 1 g, 14 g, 14.17 g, 14.2 g, 15 g, 28 g, 28.35 g, 28.4 g, 30 g, 113.4 g, 425 g, 453.6 g, 453.9 g)

Pharmacologic Category

  • Antibiotic, Topical


Inhibits bacterial cell wall synthesis by preventing transfer of mucopeptides into the growing cell wall


Poor from mucous membranes and intact or denuded skin

Use: Labeled Indications

Topical infection prevention: Prevention of infection in minor cuts, scrapes, or burns.


Hypersensitivity to bacitracin or any component of the formulation

Dosing: Adult

Prevention of infection: Topical: Apply 1 to 3 times daily.

Dosing: Geriatric

Refer to adult dosing.

Dosing: Pediatric

Prevention of infection: Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Topical: Apply small amount 1 to 3 times daily; duration of therapy >7 days is not recommended, unless directed by health care provider. Note: Do not use in the eyes or over large areas of the body.


Clean the affected area prior to use. Apply a small amount of product (an amount equal to the surface area of the tip of a finger); may cover with sterile bandage.


Topical ointment (OTC): Store at 15°C to 30°C (59°F to 86°F).

Drug Interactions

There are no known significant interactions.

Adverse Reactions

The following adverse drug reactions and incidences are derived from product labeling unless otherwise specified.

Postmarketing and/or case reports: Anaphylaxis (Elsner, 1990; Farley, 1995)


Concerns related to adverse effects:

• Allergic reaction: Stop use and consult health care provider if allergic reaction or rash develops.

• Anaphylaxis: Use with caution in patients who have been previously exposed to bacitracin; anaphylactic reactions have occurred on repeat exposure (Elsner, 1990; Farley, 1995).

Other warnings/precautions:

• Topical anti-infective (self-medication, OTC use): Use longer than 1 week is not recommended unless directed by prescriber. Do not use in eyes or over large areas of the body. Seek advice from health care provider prior to use for deep puncture wounds, bites, or serious burns, or if condition lasts longer than 1 week.

Pregnancy Considerations

Although large studies have not been conducted, absorption is limited following topical application; use during pregnancy has not been associated with an increased risk of adverse fetal events (Leachman, 2006; Murase, 2014).

Patient Education

What is this drug used for?

• It is used to avoid or treat skin infections.

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

• Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a limited summary of general information about the medicine’s uses from the patient education leaflet and is not intended to be comprehensive. This limited summary does NOT include all information available about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. For a more detailed summary of information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine, please speak with your healthcare provider and review the entire patient education leaflet.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.