How does this medication work? What will it do for me?Mupirocin belongs to the class of medications called topical antibiotics. It is applied topically (to the skin) to treat skin infections such as impetigo, caused by certain bacteria. It may also be used to prevent infections from developing in scrapes and minor cuts and injuries. It works by killing the bacteria that cause the skin infection.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are using this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each gram of ointment contains mupirocin 20 mg (2%) in a bland water-soluble ointment base. Nonmedicinal ingredients: polyethylene glycol 400 and polyethylene glycol 3350 (polyethylene glycol ointment, USP).
This medication is available as a 2% topical cream and has a white-to-off-white colour. Each gram of cream contains 21.5 mg of mupirocin calcium in an oil and water-based emulsion. Nonmedicinal ingredients: benzyl alcohol, cetomacrogol 1000, cetyl alcohol, mineral oil, phenoxyethanol, purified water, stearyl alcohol, and xanthan gum.
How should I use this medication?Apply a small amount of the ointment or cream to the affected area 3 times daily for up to 10 days, depending on the response. You can cover the area treated with a gauze dressing. If your condition worsens or irritation occurs, call your doctor. If this medication is used on the face, take care to avoid the eyes.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, apply it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not use this medication if you are allergic to mupirocin or any ingredients of the medication.
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- dry skin
- skin burning, itching, pain, rash, redness, stinging, or swelling
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- diarrhea (watery and severe; may also be bloody)
- signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Diarrhea: Although less common with antibiotics applied to the skin, people using this medication may develop diarrhea caused by an infection with the bacteria C. difficile. If you have loose, watery, and bloody bowel movements, with or without fever, or stomach cramps after using clindamycin topical solution, get medical attention as soon as possible. Diarrhea caused by C. difficile infection can lead to serious health problems if it is not properly treated.
Ointment caution: Polyethylene glycol (PEG) can be absorbed from open wounds and damaged skin. It is removed from the body by the kidneys. As with other PEG-based ointments, mupirocin ointment should not be used in conditions where absorption of large quantities of PEG is possible, especially in people with known kidney problems.
Overgrowth of organisms: Use of mupirocin occasionally allows the overgrowth of organisms not killed by the medication. If your condition worsens or does not improve in the expected time, call your doctor.
Pregnancy: The safety of this medication for the treatment of infections during pregnancy is unknown. If you are or may be pregnant, talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of using mupirocin.
Breast-feeding: If you are breast-feeding, talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of using this medication.
If you are using this medication to treat a cracked nipple, your doctor may advise you to use a breast pump to pump the milk from the affected breast while you are using this medication. The milk from the affected breast should be discarded.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?No drug interactions have been identified with the use of topical mupirocin.
If you are using any other medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.