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  • Mupirocin


    Mupirocin is an antibiotic. Antibiotics work by suppressing the growth of bacteria that contribute to acne symptoms.

    Mupirocin is available in Topical formulations. Topical antibiotics can be used to treat all types of acne, while oral antibiotics are usually reserved for patients with serious symptoms.

    Overall, Mupirocin is rated as a Poor treatment for acne. Users report that, Mupirocin is Somewhat Effective for improving acne symptoms and that this medication tends to have Mild side effects.

    Ratings Breakdown

    Mupirocin RatingsScore
    Side Effects1.83
    User Recommended20.69%
    Antibiotic Susceptibility1.00
    Antibiotic Resistance5.00
    Editor Rating2.00
    Table Key: Green is Good, Red is Bad

    The Basics

    Mupirocin (Bactroban) Composite Score

    Mupirocin (Centany) Overall Score – Scale: 1 (WORST) to 5 (BEST)

    Type of Treatment: Rx MedicationAntibiotic (Topical) - Pseudomonic Acid Family

    How It Works: Mupirocin is an antibiotic. Antibiotics can improve acne symptoms by limiting the growth of bacteria that contribute to Acne Vulgaris.

    When is this medication used? Mupirocin is is used for the treatment of all types of acne, from mild to severe acne (Acne Types: 1-4).  In cases of moderate to severe acne (Acne Types: 3-4), Mupirocin is often combined with additional treatments (eg, oral antibiotic, oral retinoids and/or light and laser therapy).

    Frequency of Mupirocin Resistant P. acnes Bacteria: Common. (What does this mean?)

    Official Name: Mupirocin
    Popular Brand Names: Bactroban, Centany, Dermoban, Micoban.

    If you have used MUPIROCIN as a treatment for acne vulgaris, please share your experience and opinions.

    Important Note: The information provided on this site is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any diseases. The Science of Acne strongly encourages you to consult a qualified medical professional before making any treatment decisions. For the complete disclaimer, click here.

    Mupirocin and Acne

    For some acne patients mupirocin is a moderately effective anti-acne medication that has few side effects.  Some patients report rapid and significant improvement in their symptoms after beginning treatment with topical mupirocin.

    The most common problem associated with the use of mupirocin in acne treatment is that many patients report the medication becomes less effective over time.  This is most likely due to the target bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) becoming resistant to mupirocin.

    The development of antibiotic resistance during treatment appears to be a major limitation of mupirocin treatment (it is also a major problem with the quinolone family of antibiotics).  The problems with rapidly acquired resistance to mupirocin and quinolones (eg. ciprofloxacin) are likely related to the manner in which the bacteria become resistant.  It appears that small genetic mutations can yield high levels of resistance to these particular antibiotics.  In contrast, many other antibiotics (eg. penicillins) may require the acquisition of an entire gene (which is much less likely to happen than a small genetic mutation).

    Because of mupirocin tends to become less effective over the course of treatment, it is poorly suited for the long-term control of acne symptoms.  However, mupirocin can prescribed in conjunction with other medications, including oral and topical medications, oral and topical retinoids and light and laser therapies.  The short-term use of mupirocin at the beginning of a multi-drug treatment may accelerate the resolution of acne symptoms.

    Patient Reviews of Mupirocin

    Mupirocin (Bactroban) Effectiveness Score

    Mupirocin Effectiveness Score – Scale: 1 (NOT EFFECTIVE) to 5 (VERY EFFECTIVE)

    Topical mupirocin appears to be moderately effective against mild to moderate acne (Acne Types: 1-2).  However, mupirocin tends to be innefective for the treatment of moderate to severe acne (Acne Types: 3-4).  Some types of bacteria can rapidly acquire resistance to mupirocin.  This can cause mupirocin to become less effective over time.

    The EFFECTIVENESS ranking is based on patient reports of how effective this medication was at improving their acne symptoms.

    This ranking is scored on a scale of 1 (NOT EFFECTIVE) to 5 (VERY EFFECTIVE).

    Additional Patient Reviews of Mupirocin:,,,,

    Cost and Availability of Mupirocin

    When possible, mupirocin should be obtained through consultation of a physician. Many doctors and dermatologists are familiar with this medication, although many are not.  Mupirocin is moderately expensive and is widely available in brand name and generic formulations.

    Mupirocin Adverse Effects

    Mupirocin (Bactroban) Side Effects

    Mupirocin (Centany) Side Effects Score – Scale: 1 (NONE) to 5 (SEVERE)

    The ADVERSE EFFECTS ranking is based on patient reports about the adverse effects and side effects that they experienced with this medication.

    This ranking is scored on a scale of 1 (NO SIDE EFFECTS) to 5 (SEVERE SIDE EFFECTS).

    Share Your Experience with mupirocin – Rate This Medication

    The most common side effect of topical mupirocin treatment is mild skin irritation. In rare cases, patients may experience more serious skin irritations. Topically applied mupirocin is poorly absorbed into the blood stream and systemic reactions are rare.

    For more in-depth information about potential side effects of tetracycline treatment, refer to the physician’s insert for mupirocin, or consult a medical professional. For more information about contraindications in general, refer to Avoiding Negative Drug Interactions.

    Mupirocin Background

    Mupirocin (Bactroban) Molecule

    Mupirocin is an antibiotic that is primarily used in the treatment of skin infections.  It is a mixture of molecules called Pseudomonic acids.  These molecules kill susceptible bacteria by preventing the bacteria from utilizing an essential amino acid, isoleucine. Without isoleucine, bacteria are unable to synthesize new proteins and replicate.

    Mupirocin is commonly used to treat Impetigo, and is also a useful addition to combination treatments for MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus.  Because mupirocin has a different mechanism of action than most other antibiotics, it is often used in synergistic combinations with other oral and topical antibiotics.  These combination treatments are often more effective than the use of mupirocin alone.

    Additional Names for Mupirocin: Bacrocin, Bactifree, Bactoderm, Bactrocin, Bactrocine, Bagobiotic, Bantix, Betrion, Biobactron, Dermoban, Foskina, Micoban, Mirobact, Mupax, Mupider, Mupiderm, Mupiral, Mupirocina, Mupirocine, Mupirocinum, Mupirox, Mupiskin, Paldar, Pibaksin, Plasimine, Pseudomonic Acid, Pseudomoninsäure, Seladerm, Spectroderm, Supirocin and Turixin.

    Related Articles from The Science of Acne

    Mupirocin User Review (Comprehensive)
    Avoiding Negative Drug Interactions
    A Guide to Buying Prescription Medications on the Internet
    Prescription Medications Used in Acne Treatment
    What causes acne?

    References and Sources


    PDR Staff Writers. 2011. 2011 Physicians’ Desk Reference
    Gallagher. 2011. Antibiotics Simplified, Second Edition
    Habif. 2009. Clinical Dermatology
    Goodheart. 2006. Acne For Dummies
    Bartlett. 2012. Johns Hopkins Antibiotics Guide 2012

    Online Resources

    PubMed Health – The National Institute of Health (US)
    Mupirocin @ Wikipedia
    Physician’s Insert for Mupirocin

    Scientific Research Articles

    1. Marina, et al. 2006. The most frequently used topical antibacterial agents in the dermatology practice.
    2. Del Rosso, et al. 2008. Antibiotic use in acne vulgaris and rosacea: clinical considerations and resistance issues of significance to dermatologists.
    3. Werner, et al. 1999. Mupirocin, fusidic acid and bacitracin: activity, action and clinical uses of three topical antibiotics.
    4. Sutherland, et al. 1985. Antibacterial activity of mupirocin (pseudomonic acid), a new antibiotic for topical use..
    5. Ward, et al. 1986. Mupirocin. A review of its antibacterial activity, pharmacokinetic properties and therapeutic use.
    6. Pappa, et al. 1990. The clinical development of mupirocin.
    7. Leyden, et al. 2001. The evolving role of Propionibacterium acnes in acne.
    8. Goulden, et al. 2003. Guidelines for the management of acne vulgaris in adolescents.
    9. Cookson, et al. 1998. The emergence of mupirocin resistance: a challenge to infection control and antibiotic prescribing practice.
    10. Bass, et al. 1997. Comparison of oral cephalexin, topical mupirocin and topical bacitracin for treatment of impetigo.
    11. Graton, et al. 1987. Topical mupirocin versus oral erythromycin in the treatment of primary and secondary skin infections.

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