Mupirocin nasal ointment (Bactroban Nasal Ointment)

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Mupirocin nasal ointment kills germs (bacteria) in the nose.

Use it two or three times a day for five days - apply the ointment into both nostrils.

Type of medicineAn antibacterial ointment
Used forTo kill germs (bacteria) in the nose (adults and children)
Also calledBactroban Nasal® Ointment
Available asNasal Ointment

Mupirocin nasal ointment is used to kill bacteria which can live in your nose, and which can spread to other people when you breathe or sneeze. It is used in particular to kill bacteria called meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which can cause skin infections. Although you may have MRSA in your nose and be otherwise well, MRSA is easily spread to other people. If it spreads to a person who is frail or already ill, it can be difficult to treat.

Mupirocin nasal ointment must only be used for your nose, but there is also a cream and an ointment containing mupirocin which is used to kill bacteria on the skin. See separate medicine leaflet called Mupirocin for skin infections which gives more information about this.

To make sure that this is the right treatment for you, before you start using mupirocin it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding - although mupirocin is not known to be harmful to babies, it is still important that you tell your doctor about this.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine, or to any skin preparation.
  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about the nasal ointment.
  • Wash your hands before you use the ointment. Use your little finger or a cotton wool bud to apply a small amount of ointment (about the size of a match head) to the inside of each nostril. Press the sides of your nose together for a short while to allow the ointment to spread around the inside of your nostrils. Use it in this way two or three times a day for five days. It is likely that you will be tested a day or so after you have finished using the ointment, to make sure it has worked. If there are still some bacteria remaining in your nose, you will be asked to repeat the treatment.
  • For mupirocin to work properly it should be applied regularly during the course of treatment. If you forget to use it at your usual time, apply it as soon as you remember and then go on as before.
  • If you are due to have an operation or any dental treatment, please tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are using mupirocin nasal ointment.

It is unusual to experience unwanted side-effects with mupirocin. Occasionally it can cause itching or tingling when it's first used, but this soon passes. Rarely, some people have experienced an allergic reaction to it. If you develop a particularly irritating or severe reaction, stop using the ointment and speak with your doctor for further advice as soon as possible.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

This preparation is for use in the nose only. If someone swallows some of it by accident, contact the accident and emergency department of your local hospital for advice.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • Manufacturers PIL, Bactroban® 2% Nasal Ointment; GlaxoSmithKline UK, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated August 2013.
  • British National Formulary; 70th Edition (Sep 2015) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Hannah Gronow
Document ID:
3283 (v24)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member

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