Highlights for mupirocin
- Mupirocin topical ointment is available as a brand-name drug. It’s also available as a generic drug. Brand name: Centany.
- Mupirocin comes as an ointment and as a cream you apply to your skin. It also comes as a nasal ointment you apply to the inside of your nose.
- Mupirocin topical ointment is used to treat impetigo.
- Contact warning: Be careful not to get this drug in your eyes. If it comes into contact with your eyes, rinse your eyes well with water. Don’t use this form of the drug inside your nose. It can cause stinging or drying.
- Allergic reactions warning: If you have an allergic reaction or severe irritation on your skin where you apply the ointment, stop using this drug and call your doctor. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include trouble breathing or swallowing, shortness of breath, swelling of your throat or tongue, itching, or a body rash. Your doctor may give you a different treatment for your infection.
- Length of treatment warning: Using this drug for a long time can cause microscopic organisms, such as bacteria or fungi, to overgrow. You should only use this drug for as long as your doctor recommends.
- Antibiotic-associated diarrhea warning: Almost all antibiotics, including mupirocin, can cause diarrhea due to an infection. This infection can cause mild diarrhea or severe inflammation of your colon. Severe reactions can be fatal (cause death). Tell your doctor if you have diarrhea. If you have this infection, you’ll need to stop using mupirocin and get treatment.
What is mupirocin?
Mupirocin is a prescription drug. It comes as a topical ointment, topical cream, and nasal ointment.
Mupirocin topical ointment is available as the brand-name drug Centany. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name drug.
Mupirocin topical ointment may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to use it with other medications.
Why it's used
Mupirocin topical ointment is used to treat impetigo. This is a skin infection caused by bacteria.
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.
More common side effects
The more common side effects of mupirocin topical ointment can include:
- burning, stinging, pain, itching, rash, redness, dryness, tenderness, or swelling of the treated skin
- increased oozing at the infection site
If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects
Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:
- Diarrhea that doesn’t go away. The diarrhea may be due to an infection caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile, which is often called C. difficile or C. diff.
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
Mupirocin may interact with other medications
An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. To help prevent interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking.
To find out how mupirocin topical ointment might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
This drug comes with several warnings.
Mupirocin can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:
- trouble breathing or swallowing
- shortness of breath
- swelling of your throat or tongue
- body rash
- chest tightness
- skin on your face or body that’s pale or flushed (warm and red)
- a panic attack or feeling that bad things are going to happen
If you develop these symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
Don’t use this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Using it again could be fatal (cause death).
Contact with drug warning
This drug can be transferred to other people if they touch your treated skin. Talk to your doctor about what you should do to prevent this from happening. One way to prevent drug transfer is to cover the treated area with a gauze dressing.
Warnings for other groups
For pregnant women: Mupirocin is a category B pregnancy drug. That means two things:
- Studies of the drug in pregnant animals have not shown a risk to the fetus.
- There aren’t enough studies done in pregnant women to show if the drug poses a risk to the fetus.
Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should be used only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk.
For women who are breastfeeding: It’s not known whether mupirocin passes into breast milk or causes side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop using this medication.
For children: Mupirocin topical ointment hasn’t been studied in children younger than 2 months.
When to call the doctor
- Call your doctor if the treated skin doesn’t look better after three to five days.
How to use mupirocin
All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you use the drug will depend on:
- your age
- the condition being treated
- how severe your condition is
- other medical conditions you have
- how you react to the first dose
Drug forms and strengths
- Form: topical ointment
- Strength: 2%
- Form: topical ointment
- Strength: 2%
Dosage for impetigo
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
Typical dosage: A small amount of the ointment applied to the infected skin three times per day for up to 10 days.
Child dosage (ages 2 months to 17 years)
Typical dosage: A small amount of the ointment applied to the infected area of skin three times per day for up to 10 days.
Child dosage (ages 0–1 month)
This medication hasn’t been studied in children younger than 2 months of age.
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Use as directed
Mupirocin topical ointment is used for short-term treatment. It comes with serious risks if you don’t use it as prescribed.
If you stop using the drug suddenly or don’t use it at all: Your infection may not improve, and it may get worse.
If you miss doses or don’t use the drug on schedule: Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. The bacteria that this drug is treating may also develop resistance. This means that your medication will no longer work to kill the bacteria. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be at the site of infection at all times.
If you use too much: The bacteria this drug is treating may develop resistance. This means that your medication will no longer work to kill the bacteria. If you think you’ve used too much of this drug, call your doctor.
What to do if you miss a dose: Apply your dose as soon as you remember. If you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, apply only one dose.
How to tell if the drug is working: Your infection should start to get better within three to five days of using this drug.
Important considerations for using mupirocin
Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes mupirocin for you.
- Apply the drug three times per day, about every 8 hours.
- Only apply this drug to your skin. Do not use the topical ointment in your nose. If you're treating an infection in your nose, you should use a nasal ointment instead.
- 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.
When traveling with your medication:
- Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
- Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t harm your medication.
- You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled container with you.
- Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.
Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead to make sure your pharmacy carries it.
You may need to buy gauze dressings to cover the area where you applied the mupirocin ointment.
Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor may need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.
Are there any alternatives?
There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.
Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.