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Polymyxin and bacitracin skin ointment


Clinical author's note Michael Stewart 22/5/2023: Polyfax® ointment was discontinued in the UK in November 2017. At the time of review there are no branded or generic creams or ointments containing polymyxin and bacitracin available in the UK. Equivalent products may still be available in other countries. This medicine leaflet is based on medical information available in the UK at the time of writing and is left here for reference purposes. Please also refer to the manufacturer's information supplied with your medicine.

Use the ointment twice a day unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

Only apply it to the areas of skin which are infected.

You should notice an improvement within about 4-5 days.

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About polymyxin and bacitracin ointment

Type of medicine

An anti-infective skin cream

Used for

Skin infections

Also called

Polyfax® (discontinued)

Available as


Polymyxin and bacitracin ointment is used to treat skin infections caused by bacteria. By treating the infection, it will allow your skin to heal.

Before using polymyxin and bacitracin ointment

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

  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a skin cream/ointment, or to any other medicine.

  • If you have any problems with the way your kidneys work.

  • If you are using any other skin preparations or taking any medicines. This includes any preparations you are using which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.

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How to use polymyxin and bacitracin ointment

  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the ointment and a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from using it.

  • Your doctor will tell you how often to use the cream. It is usual to apply it twice daily, although it may be more frequently than this if your doctor thinks it necessary. Only apply it to the areas of skin which are infected.

  • You should notice your skin starting to get better within a few days. If you haven't noticed any improvement after 4-5 days, check with your doctor for further advice.

Can polymyxin and bacitracin ointment cause problems?

On occasion, the ointment may cause some minor skin irritation. If the irritation becomes troublesome or severe, stop using it and ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

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How to store polymyxin and bacitracin ointment

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.

  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

  • Do not store any ointment left over at the end of your treatment for another time.

Important information about all medicines

Important information about all medicines

This preparation is for use on the skin only. If someone swallows some of it by accident, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

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.

Report side effects to a medicine or vaccine

If you experience side effects, you can report them online through the Yellow Card website.

Further reading and references

Article History

The information on this page is written and peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

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