Mupirocin is a topical antibiotic used to treat impetigo. Being topical means it is used on the skin, not internally, and impetigo is a skin disease caused by some bacteria like Streptococcus pyogenes, beta-hemolytic streptococcus, or Staphylococcus aureus. It can also be used intranasally, which means inside the nostrils, to eliminate the methicillin-resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that colonize inside the nostrils.
Mupirocin acts in a different way than most other antibiotics. While other antibiotics act on either the walls or the DNA of the bacteria, mupirocin works by blocking the activity of a particular enzyme known as isoleucyl-tRNA synthetase inside the bacteria. The bacteria use this enzyme to make protein, so when its effect is blocked, protein synthesis stops and they die. This different mechanism of action makes mupirocin particularly effective against bacteria that have been exposed to other antibiotics and acquired resistance to them.
The FDA approved topical mupirocin in December, 1987, and the intranasal form in October, 1995.
Mupirocin should not be used on skin affected with serious burns. The inactive ingredient, polyethylene glycol or Miralax, used in the cream as vehicle, can be absorbed in larger quantities by such a skin, and may result in damage to kidneys. Mupirocin can also be used in infections other than those caused by the bacteria mentioned above, as decided by the dermatologist.
Mupirocin is used for skin infections caused by some bacteria noted above. It is often used alone, but occasionally a second antibiotic may be given orally along with it.
Mupirocin should be used topically, that is on the skin. The affected area should first be cleaned and allowed to dry. A small amount of the cream or ointment should be applied over it thrice a day or as advised by the dermatologist. The affected area, after application of the ointment, may be covered with a bandage.
The medication should be used regularly for the full prescribed period of time. Lapses may provide time for the bacteria to become resistant to it.
Avoid applying medication around eyes, mouth, nose (unless using intranasal form), and on areas of seriously burnt, broken or otherwise damaged skin. Inform your dermatologist if the condition shows no improvement in 3-5 days.
Mupirocin blocks the effects of a crucial enzyme that the bacteria use to make cell proteins and form protective cell walls. This ultimately results in the death of the bacterial organism.
Keep the medicine in its original container; do not transfer content to some other container. Tightly close the container after use and keep away from children. Do not refrigerate. Store at room temperature, away from heat or moisture (that is, not near fireplace or in bathroom). Throw away the medication no longer required, rather than keeping it for future use.