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Altabax Side Effects

Generic name: retapamulin topical

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 22, 2022.

Note: This document contains side effect information about retapamulin topical. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Altabax.

For the Consumer

Applies to retapamulin topical: topical application ointment

Side effects requiring immediate medical attention

Along with its needed effects, retapamulin topical (the active ingredient contained in Altabax) 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 while taking retapamulin topical:

Less common

  • Burning, itching, redness, skin rash, swelling, or soreness at site
  • skin rash, encrusted, scaly, and oozing


  • Blistering, burning, crusting, dryness, flaking of skin
  • flushing, redness of skin
  • itching, scaling, severe redness, soreness, swelling of skin
  • pain at site of application
  • unusually warm skin

Side effects not requiring immediate medical attention

Some side effects of retapamulin topical 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:

Less common

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to retapamulin topical: topical ointment


Common (1% to 10%): Pruritus, eczema

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Erythema, contact dermatitis, impetigo, excoriation[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Application site irritation, application site pruritus, application site pain

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Application site erythema

Postmarketing reports: Application site burning sensation[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Hypersensitivity events including angioedema[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Pyrexia

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Increased creatinine phosphokinase[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Diarrhea, nausea

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Abdominal discomfort[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Nasopharyngitis[Ref]

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Headache[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Altabax (retapamulin topical)." GlaxoSmithKline (2007):

Further information

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

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.