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Bacitracin (Topical)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 14, 2019.


(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.


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

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

• Discuss specific use of drug and side effects with patient as it relates to treatment. (HCAHPS: During this hospital stay, were you given any medicine that you had not taken before? Before giving you any new medicine, how often did hospital staff tell you what the medicine was for? How often did hospital staff describe possible side effects in a way you could understand?)

• Educate patient about signs of a significant reaction (eg, wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat). Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Patient should consult prescriber for additional questions.

Intended Use and Disclaimer: Should not be printed and given to patients. This information is intended to serve as a concise initial reference for health care professionals to use when discussing medications with a patient. You must ultimately rely on your own discretion, experience, and judgment in diagnosing, treating, and advising patients.

Further information

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