Mupirocin is an antibacterial cream that requires a prescription. The brand name is Bactroban. Doctors may prescribe it for deep, severe burns or to treat MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infections.

What is MRSA?

MRSA infection is caused by staph bacteria that are resistant to many antibiotics, though it may still be susceptible to some antibiotics, including in some cases mupirocin.

MRSA is common in hospital settings. A large portion of the population carries MRSA but displays no symptoms. In an environment like a hospital, carriers may spread the bacteria that causes MRSA infections to susceptible patients. Burn patients with open wounds may be susceptible to this and other infections. Older patients and those with a weakened immune system may be at an even greater risk.

An MRSA infection might cause warmth and discharge in the affected area. Severe MRSA infections may be painful and could require surgery. MRSA may spread to the blood, bones, and organs, a situation that can be life-threatening. That is why infection prevention and prompt treatment is important for burn patients with severe, open wounds.

How do I use mupirocin?

Mupirocin is a cream that patients apply topically to the wound or infection site. In most cases, patients will apply it three times a day for a couple of weeks, though they should follow any specific direction from their doctor or pharmacist.

When applying the cream, patients should wash their hands as well as the wound area. Some doctors may recommend covering the wound cite with a sterile dressing to further protect it.

Are there any side effects of mupirocin cream?

It is not uncommon for patients to experience stinging after applying mupirocin. Other side effects may include:

  • Burning sensation
  • Itching
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Pain

Tell your doctor about any allergies you have and any other medications you are taking before you use mupirocin. This includes any supplements, alternative, or over-the-counter medications or creams you are using. This is important to avoid any interactions between the cream and other medications.

Possible signs of an allergic reaction might include rash, hives, severe itching, trouble breathing, chest tightness, and abnormal swelling. Inform your doctor right away if you experience these symptoms.

What if my infection does not go away?

You should start to see improvement after a few days. Inform your doctor if you do not see any improvement after three to five days.

What other antibiotics might my doctor prescribe?

Mupirocin is not the only antibiotic cream that doctors may prescribe. Some may prescribe silver sulfadiazine, a common antibacterial burn cream used in patients with second- and third-degree burns and that kills various bacteria.

Talk to your doctor about how best to prevent or treatment infections after a burn injury.