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What Is Mupirocin?

Mupirocin is a prescription drug used to treat certain skin infections, such as impetigo and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

It's sold under the brand names Bactroban and Centany.

Mupirocin is an antibiotic. It works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved mupirocin in 1987 for manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline under the brand name Bactroban. Generic mupirocin is now available from several drug companies.

How to use mupirocin

Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about the preparation prescribed for you.

Wash your hands before you use the cream/ointment. Use a cotton wool pad to apply a small amount to the infected area. It may sting a little when you first apply it but this should soon pass. You can use a sticking plaster or dressing to protect the treated area if needed. You should use mupirocin two or three times a day unless your doctor has told you otherwise. Do not use it for longer than ten days.

How it works

Mupirocin belongs to a class of drugs called topical antibacterials. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Mupirocin works to kill the bacteria that are causing your infection. These include strains of Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. Mupirocin stops the bacteria from multiplying.

Mupirocin side effects

Mupirocin topical ointment doesn’t cause drowsiness, but it can cause other side effects.

  • burning, stinging, pain, itching, rash, redness, dryness, tenderness, or swelling of the treated skin
  • nausea
  • increased oozing at the infection site


Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.


If your skin infection does not improve within 3 to 5 days, or if it becomes worse, check with your doctor.

This medicine may cause diarrhea, and in some cases it can be severe. It may occur 2 months or more after you stop using this medicine. Do not take any medicine to treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor. If you have any questions or if mild diarrhea continues or gets worse, check with your doctor.


Store mupirocin topical ointment at room temperature. Keep it between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C). Don’t freeze it.

Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms