Hopkins ABX Guide

Mupirocin Antibiotic

What is Mupirocin and When It is Used?

Mupirocin is an antibiotic from the class of monoxycarbolic acid antibiotics. It was developed by the British pharmaceutical company Beecham Group which also developed some of the most important types of antibiotics such as methicillin, ampicilin, amoxicillin and cloxacillin, to mention only a few. In year 2000, the company (since the late 1980s in partnership with SmithKline Beckman) merged with GlaxoWellcome into GlaxoSmithKline.

This type of antibiotic is used as a topical treatment of a variety of skin infections that are caused by Gram-positive bacteria such as impetigo, furuncle and infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus including methicillin-resistant strain MRSA. Mupirocin can also be used inside the nose to treat MRSA infection.

Like other antibiotics, mupirocin isn’t effective against viral infections. It also has no effect on most strains of Acne bacterium which is naturally “immune” to this antibiotic.

How is Mupirocin Taken/Administered?

Mupirocin is applied directly to the affected skin in the form of ointment, usually three times a day. Improvement should be noticeable in three to five days but even if all the symptoms have gone away completely, it is crucial to continue with the therapy as prescribed and finish the entire course to make sure that all the bacteria have been eliminated. The medication should be avoided around eyes, mouth, nose and damaged skin.

As mentioned earlier, mupirocin is also used to treat bacteria inside nose but there is a special ointment for intranasal application. This medication is usually used twice a day over a period of 5 days.

Side Effects of Mupirocin

Both topical mupirocin for skin infections and intranasal ointment may cause side effects but they are relatively rare and mild. The most common side effects of skin ointment including stinging, burning or itching of the treated areas. Nasal ointment, on the other hand, can cause headache, rhinorrhea (runny nose) and sore throat. Other side effects can occur as well but they are extremely rare.

The medication shouldn’t be used for prolonged periods of time or bacterial infections that can successfully be treated with other antibiotics in order to prevent development of mupirocin resistant strains of MRSA. It also shouldn’t be used if having severe burns to avoid kidney damage that can occur if large quantities of mupirocin ointment/cream are absorbed by the skin.