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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 26, 2020.


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Index Terms

  • Mupirocin Calcium
  • Pseudomonic Acid A

Dosage Forms

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling. [DSC] = Discontinued product

Cream, External, as calcium [strength expressed as base]:

Bactroban: 2% (15 g [DSC], 30 g [DSC])

Generic: 2% (15 g, 30 g)

Kit, External:

Centany AT: 2% [contains propylene glycol monostearate]

Ointment, External:

Centany: 2% (30 g) [contains propylene glycol monostearate]

Generic: 2% (15 g, 22 g)

Ointment, Nasal, as calcium [strength expressed as base]:

Bactroban Nasal: 2% (1 g [DSC])

Brand Names: U.S.

  • Bactroban Nasal [DSC]
  • Bactroban [DSC]
  • Centany
  • Centany AT

Pharmacologic Category

  • Antibiotic, Topical


Binds to bacterial isoleucyl transfer-RNA synthetase resulting in the inhibition of protein synthesis


Topical ointment and cream: Penetrates outer layers of skin; systemic absorption minimal through intact skin

Intranasal: Adults: ~3%; Neonates and premature infants: Absorption may be significant


Rapidly metabolized to monic acid (inactive)


Urine (as monic acid [inactive])

Half-Life Elimination

17 to 36 minutes

Protein Binding


Use: Labeled Indications

Impetigo: Treatment of impetigo due to Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes (topical ointment).

Secondary skin infection: Treatment of secondarily infected traumatic skin lesions (up to 10 cm in length or 100 cm2 in area) due to susceptible isolates of S. aureus and S. pyogenes (topical cream).

S. aureus (including methicillin-resistant) decolonization: Eradication of nasal colonization with methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) in adult and pediatric patients ≥12 years of age and health care workers as part of a comprehensive infection control program to reduce the risk of infection among patients at high risk of MRSA infection during institutional outbreaks of infections with this microorganism (intranasal ointment).

Off Label Uses


Data from a small, randomized trial and from a large, noncomparative trial suggest the utility of mupirocin (topical ointment) for the treatment of folliculitis [Bork 1989], [Gilbert 1989].

Nasal vestibulitis

Clinical experience suggests the utility of mupirocin (intranasal ointment) in the treatment of nasal vestibulitis [Bhattacharyya 2020], [Wang 2020].

Peritoneal dialysis catheter exit-site or tunnel infection, prophylaxis

Data from a meta-analysis, which included 1 randomized, double-blind study, support the use of mupirocin (topical cream or ointment) in the prevention of peritoneal dialysis catheter exit-site infection [Tsai 2018]. Clinical experience suggests the utility of mupirocin for the prevention of peritoneal dialysis catheter tunnel infection [Burkart 2020].


Hypersensitivity to mupirocin or any component of the formulation

Dosing: Adult

Note: Bactroban Nasal has been discontinued in the United States for more than 1 year.

Peritoneal dialysis catheter exit-site or tunnel infection, prophylaxis (off-label use):

Topical: Cream: Apply once daily to catheter exit site to prevent infection (ISPD [Li 2016]; Tsai 2018). Note: Cream is preferred to ointment, which may damage some catheters (Khandelwal 2003).

Staphylococcus aureus (including methicillin-resistant) decolonization:

Note: For select patients who have recurrent S. aureus infection or warrant preoperative decolonization.

Intranasal: Ointment: Apply approximately one-half of the ointment from the single-use 1 g tube into each nostril twice daily for 5 to 10 days in combination with a skin antiseptic (eg, chlorhexidine body wash) (ASHP/IDSA/SIS/SHEA [Bratzler 2013]; Bode 2010; IDSA [Liu 2011]; Lee 2013). As an alternative to single-use tubes, 500 mg (an amount sufficient to cover the top of a cotton swab) from a 22 g tube can be applied into each nostril. Note: Some experts suggest decolonization at discharge for hospitalized patients with methicillin-resistant S. aureus colonization or infection; in such cases, a 5-day course in combination with chlorhexidine body wash and mouthwash is repeated twice monthly for 6 months (Huang 2019).

Superficial skin infection:

Folliculitis (off-label use): Topical: Ointment: Apply to affected area 3 times daily, typically for 7 days depending on severity and clinical response (Bork 1989; Gilbert 1989).

Impetigo (limited number of lesions): Topical: Ointment: Apply to affected area 2 to 3 times daily for 5 days (Bork 1989; Gilbert 1989; IDSA [Stevens 2014]).

Nasal vestibulitis (off-label use): Intranasal: Ointment: Apply to affected nostril(s) twice daily for 5 days (Bhattacharyya 2020; Wang 2020).

Secondary skin infection (localized infection of wounds, burns, dermatitis, or other lesions): Topical: Cream, Ointment: Apply to affected area 2 to 3 times daily, typically for 7 to 14 days depending on severity and clinical response; if no response after 3 to 5 days, re-evaluate treatment (Gilbert 1989; Weston 2020; White 1989; manufacturer's labeling).

Dosing: Geriatric

Refer to adult dosing.

Dosing: Pediatric

Note: Bactroban Nasal has been discontinued in the US for >1 year.

MRSA decolonization, nasal: Topical: Intranasal ointment:

Infants and Children: Limited data available: Apply a small amount twice daily for 5 to 10 days (IDSA [Liu 2011])

Children ≥12 years and Adolescents: Apply 500 mg (1/2 of unit-dose tube) twice daily for 5 to 10 days (IDSA [Liu 2011])

MRSA or impetigo, treatment; minor skin infection or a limited number of infected lesions: Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Topical: Cream, Ointment: Apply small amount 3 times daily for 5 to 10 days; patients not showing clinical response after 5 days should be reevaluated (IDSA [Liu 2011]; IDSA [Stevens 2014])


Intranasal ointment: After application into nostrils, press sides of nose together and gently massage to spread ointment throughout the insides of the nostrils for ~1 minute. Packaged in single-use tubes; discard after use; do not re-use. Not for use in eyes. In case of accidental contact in or near eyes, rinse well with water. Do not apply concurrently with any other intranasal products. Wash hands before and after application.

Topical cream, ointment: For external use only; not for use in eyes or on mucous membranes (components may be absorbed systemically and cause drying and irritation). Apply small amount to affected area using gauze pad or cotton swab; area may be covered with a gauze dressing if desired. In case of accidental contact in or near eyes, rinse well with water. Wash hands before and after application.


Intranasal: Store between 20°C and 25°C (68°F and 77°F); excursions are permitted between 15°C and 30°C (59°F and 86°F). Do not refrigerate.

Topical cream: Store at or below 25°C (77°F). Do not freeze.

Topical ointment: Store between 20°C and 25°C (68°F and 77°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.

1% to 10%:

Central nervous system: Headache (2% to 9%), localized burning (<4%), stinging sensation (<2%)

Dermatologic: Pruritus (≤2%), skin rash (≤1%)

Gastrointestinal: Nausea (1% to 5%), dysgeusia (3%)

Local: Local pain (<2%)

Respiratory: Rhinitis (6%), respiratory congestion (5%), pharyngitis (4%), cough (2%)

<1%, postmarketing, and/or case reports: Abdominal pain, aphthous stomatitis, blepharitis, cellulitis, Clostridioides (formerly Clostridium) difficile-associated diarrhea, contact dermatitis, dermatitis, diarrhea, dizziness, epistaxis, erythema, hypersensitivity reaction, increased wound secretion, localized edema, localized tenderness, otalgia, urticaria, wound infection (secondary), xeroderma, xerostomia


Concerns related to adverse effects:

• Hypersensitivity: May be associated with systemic allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, urticaria, angioedema, and generalized rash. If a systemic reaction occurs, discontinue use.

• Irritation: If sensitization or local irritation occurs, discontinue use.

• Superinfection: Prolonged use may result in fungal or bacterial superinfection, including C. difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD) and pseudomembranous colitis; CDAD has been observed >2 months postantibiotic treatment.

Disease-related concerns:

• Renal impairment: Topical ointment and intranasal: Use with caution in patients with renal impairment (has not been studied).

Dosage form specific issues:

• Benzyl alcohol and derivatives: Some dosage forms may contain benzyl alcohol; large amounts of benzyl alcohol (≥99 mg/kg/day) have been associated with a potentially fatal toxicity ("gasping syndrome") in neonates; the “gasping syndrome” consists of metabolic acidosis, respiratory distress, gasping respirations, CNS dysfunction (including convulsions, intracranial hemorrhage), hypotension, and cardiovascular collapse (AAP ["Inactive" 1997]; CDC 1982); some data suggests that benzoate displaces bilirubin from protein binding sites (Ahlfors 2001); avoid or use dosage forms containing benzyl alcohol with caution in neonates. See manufacturer's labeling.

• Polyethylene glycol: Potentially toxic amounts of polyethylene glycol contained in some topical products may be absorbed percutaneously in patients with extensive burns or open wounds. Do not use polyethylene glycol-based ointments in conditions where absorption of large quantities of polyethylene glycol is possible, especially in the presence of moderate or severe renal impairment.

Other warnings/precautions:

• Appropriate use: For external use only. Avoid contact with eyes; in case of accidental contact in or near eyes, rinse well with water.

- Intranasal: May cause severe burning and tearing in eyes (resolves within days to weeks after discontinuation). Available in single-use tubes to decrease risk of contamination.

- Topical cream and ointment: Not for ophthalmic or nasal use or use on mucosal surfaces. May cover treated areas with gauze dressing.

• Limitations of use:

- Nasal ointment: There are insufficient data to establish that product is safe and effective as part of an intervention program to prevent autoinfection of high-risk patients from their own nasal colonization with S. aureus; should not be used for general prophylaxis of any infection in any patient population; >90% of patients had eradication of nasal colonization within 2 to 4 days after therapy was completed; ~30% recolonization within 4 weeks of therapy was reported in one study.

- Topical ointment: Should not be used with intravenous (IV) cannulae or at central IV sites because of the potential to promote fungal infections and antimicrobial resistance.

Pregnancy Considerations

Systemic absorption following topical application is minimal.

Patient Education

What is this drug used for?

• It is used to treat a bacteria found in nose passages and stop its spread to others.

• It is used to treat skin infections.

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

• Burning

• Stinging

• Itching

• Headache

• Nausea

• Runny nose

• Sore throat

• Cough

• Stuffy nose

• Change in taste

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:

Clostridioides (formerly Clostridium) difficile-associated diarrhea like abdominal pain or cramps, severe diarrhea or watery stools, or bloody stools

• Dizziness

• Fast heartbeat

• Abnormal heartbeat

• Application site irritation

• 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.

Frequently asked questions

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Further information

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