Mupirocin (Nasal)

Mupirocin is known as Bactroban in the marketplace and is a topical antibiotic ointment that kills germs and bacteria in the nose, thus preventing various types of infections.


Mupirocin is a topical antibiotic medicine that has a specific, unique function. It acts by bonding itself to a specific enzyme found in strains of bacteria known as Streptococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. Mupirocin's active ingredients then halt the normal functionality of this enzyme, which is to consume protein for growth of the bacteria. Because the bacteria cannot grow and multiply, it cannot cause an infection in the patient and will eventually die.

Mupirocin is effective against specific strains of bacteria and is therefore used as a targeted preventative medication. Mupirocin ointment is applied to the nasal passages and prevents infections such as impetigo, secondary infections of the skin such as folliculitis and MRSA, an infection that is very difficult to treat due to its resistance to many antibiotic drugs.

MRSA or Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, is a bacterial infection that is resistant to many antibiotic drugs. It is highly contagious and found in close quarters such as hospitals, nursing homes and prisons, where it is also common for people living closely together to have weak immune systems. MRSA can be life-threatening if left untreated and requires immediate antibiotic care to avoid fatal infection.

Conditions Treated

  • Skin infection
  • Folliculitis
  • Secondary infection
  • Impetigo
  • Staphylococcus aurea colonization or MRSA prevention
  • Streptococcus pyogenes treatment

Type Of Medication

  • Topical antibiotic

Side Effects

Some patients have reported the following adverse symptoms after treating their nasal passages with Mupirocin. If you have the same symptoms, report them to your physician right away:

  • Skin rash
  • Nose bleeds
  • Tender abdomen or stomach
  • Coughing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Dizzy
  • Rapid heart rhythm
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Itchy welts or hives on skin
  • Swollen patches on sex organs, eyes, face, tongue, lips, hands, legs, feet or throat
  • Puffy face or eyelids
  • Skin redness
  • Pain and cramps in stomach or abdomen
  • Chest constriction
  • Fatigue
  • Weak muscles
  • Severe, watery or bloody diarrhea

Other symptoms may also occur that don't cause health concerns and typically disappear over time with use of the medication. Even though these are not emergency symptoms requiring medical care, it is still in your best interest to alert your doctor to the fact that you have them, as there may be a method to ease them somewhat. Let your physician know if you have:

  • Pain in ears
  • Headache
  • Stinging or burning sensation in nose
  • Taste changes
  • Itching skin
  • Throat soreness
  • Running or plugged nose

Report any odd health symptoms that may occur after you take Mupirocin to your physician in case of any safety issues.


Follow the prescription that your doctor has written for you exactly without increasing the amount of Mupirocin you are indicated to administer or the frequency in which you take it. Do not use it for longer than 10 days, as the bacteria in your body could form a resistance to it over a long period of time.

Mupirocin is for use in the nasal passages only and should not be applied to any other areas of skin or near the eyes. If you get this medication in your eyes or on unwanted areas of skin, rinse the area or eyes with clear water immediately.

Even if your symptoms get better, continue to use Mupirocin for the entire duration you are prescribed for, without shortening or lengthening the period of treatment. Do not miss any dosage of Mupirocin, but if you accidentally do skip a dose, make it up as soon as possible without double dosing.

Patients 12 years of age and older with nasal staph infections will typically be prescribed Mupirocin in a single dose tube. Use half of one tube in each nostril twice per day; once in the morning and once at night, for a five day period, no longer. The total dosage will be two tubes per day. Patients under 12 years of age will have their dosage determined specifically for them, if appropriate.

To use Mupirocin ointment in the nasal passages, follow these steps:

  • Wash hands before taking the tube from the packaging and opening for application.
  • Apply half the single dose tube straight from the tube into one nostril and the other half in the other nostril.
  • Press nostrils together as if you were holding your nose and release; repeat for one minute.
  • Or press nostrils together and massage sides together for one minute.
  • Dispose of the empty tube and wash hands thoroughly.
  • Repeat the dose in the evening and continue treatment for five days.


Hypersensitive reactions to other medications that have occurred for you in the past should be communicated to your physician, in case Mupirocin may give you the same adverse effect. You should also alert your physician to any sensitivity you have to certain foods, animals, dyes, perfumes or preservatives.

Mupirocin nasal ointment prescription will include a patient information leaflet or booklet that you should read thoroughly before treatment. If you have any questions after reading the information, ask your doctor or pharmacist right away.

Avoid using other nasal medications such as sprays, creams, lotions or ointments while you are using Mupirocin, as you could diminish the effectiveness of the medication on your bacterial infection. Avoid putting anything in your nasal passages such as cotton swabs or other items, as you could spread the bacteria to other places on your body or to other people.

With regard to the pediatric population, children younger than 12 years old may or may not be able to safely have Mupirocin antibiotic treatment, as there has been no data to confirm this in this age group. It is also unknown if children can expect this medication to work effectively on their symptoms. Use in this age group is under doctor's advisement depending on the patient's condition and other factors.

Geriatric patients should not expect any diminished effectiveness or amplified risks when being treated with Mupirocin nasal ointment, though this age group has not been specifically studied in this regard.

Alert your physician if you are taking any other medications at the time of your Mupirocin nasal ointment treatment, as these can have an adverse reaction to the medication, making it less effective on your condition or even causing risks to your health. Include any vitamins you take, over the counter remedies you rely on regularly or holistic and herbal therapies you use on a regular basis.

Discuss the consumption of alcoholic beverages and the use of tobacco products with your physician prior to applying Mupirocin nasal ointment, as these two substances may have an effect on how this medicine works for you.

Patients with diarrhea symptoms should let their doctor know that they are suffering from this condition prior to treatment with Mupirocin, which has been reported to cause severe diarrhea symptoms in some patients. You may make your condition worse if you take this medication.

Alert anyone who provides you with health care that you are taking Mupirocin; this includes nurses, doctors, pharmacists and dental professionals as well.


If your health condition worsens after use of Mupirocin nasal ointment, let your doctor know right away in case another therapy is more appropriate for you.

Mupirocin may cause some patients to experience severe diarrhea that may be excessively watery or even show signs of blood. This adverse effect on your health may appear up to two months post treatment, so alert your physician if you have any symptoms before taking any over-the-counter medications to treat it. Any questions should be directed to your physician, especially if your symptoms worsen over time.

Avoid using any other treatments or medicines in your nasal passages during your Mupirocin therapy and do not use any instruments or applicators with your medication such as cotton swabs or sponge tipped applicators. Avoid touching the inside of your nose with anything during this time including your hands.

Report instances of severe irritation such as skin redness, bleeding or itching at the site of application and any swelling or rashes to your physician and do not use any self-treatments for these conditions without checking with your doctor first.

Mupirocin is for application in the nasal passages only, not for application to skin or eyes or for ingestion by swallowing. Notify emergency services if someone swallows the medication or if it has been swallowed by a pet.

Never loan this medication to anyone, even if they have the same condition. Dispose of any unused or expired doses of Mupirocin nasal ointment according to the safety information on the patient leaflet provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about Mupirocin and how to safely dispose of it.


Keep Mupirocin single dose tubes in their original container at room temperature, away from exposure to cold, heat, light or moisture. Store this medication out of sight and reach of children and pets. Dispose of used tubes of Mupirocin in a secure way so that they cannot be retrieved by animals or children and accidentally touched or ingested. Dispose of expired or unused Mupirocin doses safely according to the instructions provided to you by your physician or pharmacist.


Mupirocin nasal ointment is a topical antibiotic that is useful in the prevention of bacteria growth in humans who are age 12 and older. Mupirocin is applied in the nasal passages twice daily and has been proven to be effective in the treatment of a serious bacterial infection known as MRSA. MRSA is commonly found in settings with close quarters such as hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and the like. Resistant to most antibacterial medications, MRSA patients may also form a resistance to Mupirocin ointment if used over a long period of time. Mupirocin is also effective in treating skin infections such as folliculitis and impetigo.

Mupirocin has been reported to cause skin symptoms such as swelling, rash and itching in patients who have sensitivity to the medication or the ingredients of the ointment. Other patients may experience diarrhea symptoms that can become severe, watery or bloody. These conditions should be reported to your health care professional immediately for care of your overall health. Use of Mupirocin in children under 12 years old has not been proven to be safe or effective.

Mupirocin should be stored and disposed of securely so that children and pets aren't exposed to the medication accidentally. Never loan medications to others, even if they have the same conditions as you. Do not ingest Mupirocin or get it in eyes or on skin; it is for application to the nasal passages only.