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Bactroban Side Effects

Generic name: mupirocin topical

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 21, 2023.

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

Applies to mupirocin topical: topical cream, topical ointment. Other dosage forms:

Serious side effects of Bactroban

Along with its needed effects, mupirocin topical (the active ingredient contained in Bactroban) 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 mupirocin topical:

Less common

  • Burning, stinging, or pain on the application site


  • Blistering, crusting, irritation, itching, or reddening of the skin
  • canker sores
  • cracked, dry, scaly skin
  • pain, swelling, tenderness, warmth on the skin
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or tongue or inside the mouth

Incidence not known

  • Abdominal or stomach tenderness
  • cough
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • dizziness
  • fast heartbeat
  • fever
  • hives or welts, itching, or skin rash
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • redness of the skin
  • severe abdominal or stomach cramps and pain
  • tightness in the chest
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • watery and severe diarrhea, which may also be bloody

Other side effects of Bactroban

Some side effects of mupirocin 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 mupirocin topical: compounding powder, nasal ointment, topical cream, topical kit, topical ointment.


Nasal Ointment: Cutaneous hypersensitivity reactions have been reported very rarely during postmarketing experience.

Topical Ointment: Cutaneous sensitization reactions to the active component or ointment base have been reported.[Ref]

Nasal Ointment:

-Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Pruritus/itching

-Frequency not reported: Rash

-Postmarketing reports: Cutaneous hypersensitivity reactions

Topical Cream:

-Common (1% to 10%): Rash, pruritus, cutaneous hypersensitivity reactions

-Frequency not reported: Dry skin, erythema, cellulitis, dermatitis, hives

Topical Ointment:

-Common (1% to 10%): Pruritus/itching, erythema, dry skin/dryness

-Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Contact dermatitis, furunculosis, exfoliative dermatitis, rash, cutaneous sensitization reactions[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea

Nasal Ointment:

-Frequency not reported: Diarrhea, dry mouth, nausea

Topical Cream:

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

-Frequency not reported: Abdominal pain, ulcerative stomatitis

Topical Ointment:

-Frequency not reported: Nausea[Ref]


Systemic allergic reactions have been reported during postmarketing experience very rarely.[Ref]

Postmarketing reports: Systemic allergic reactions (e.g., anaphylaxis, generalized rash, urticaria, angioedema)[Ref]


Nasal Ointment:

-Common (1% to 10%): Burning, irritation, tingling, itching, stinging, soreness, facial pain over maxillae

Topical Cream:

-Common (1% to 10%): Application site reactions, application site burning, application site hypersensitivity reactions (including urticaria, pruritus, erythema, burning sensation, contact dermatitis, rash)

Topical Ointment:

-Common (1% to 10%): Burning, stinging, pain/swelling at application site, dryness, itching, erythema

-Frequency not reported: Increased exudate, application site reactions[Ref]

Nervous system

Nasal Ointment:

-Common (1% to 10%): Taste perversion, headache

Topical Cream:

-Common (1% to 10%): Headache

-Frequency not reported: Dizziness[Ref]


Nasal Ointment:

-Common (1% to 10%): Conjunctivitis

-Frequency not reported: Blepharitis, burning, tearing[Ref]


Nasal Ointment:

-Common (1% to 10%): Burning/stinging

-Frequency not reported: Ear pain

Topical Cream:

-Frequency not reported: Bleeding or pain secondary to eczema, secondary wound infection

Topical Ointment:

-Common (1% to 10%): Burning/stinging/pain

-Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Systemic reactions (not otherwise specified)

-Frequency not reported: Tenderness, swelling, increased exudate[Ref]


Nasal Ointment:

-Common (1% to 10%): Postnasal drip, sinusitis, rhinitis, respiratory disorder (including upper respiratory tract congestion), pharyngitis, cough

-Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Nasal mucosa reactions

-Frequency not reported: Epistaxis[Ref]

Frequently asked questions


1. Product Information. Bactroban (mupirocin topical). Apothecon Inc. 2022.

2. Product Information. Bactroban Nasal (mupirocin topical). SmithKline Beecham. 2001.

3. Cerner Multum, Inc. UK Summary of Product Characteristics.

4. Cerner Multum, Inc. Australian Product Information.

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.