Bactroban nasal ointment is a type of antibiotic that kills certain types of bacteria. It is made to be applied into the nose to kill bacteria there. This can lower the risk of bacteria in the nose causing an infection in the patient. It’s often used by patients and healthcare workers to prevent them from getting a serious staph infection. It’s often used in people who are at risk of an outbreak of infection. This may be in a hospital or another type of healthcare facility. It’s only used for people aged 12 and older.

The active ingredient, mupirocin, is a type of antibiotic that can stop certain types of bacteria from growing. Bactroban Nasal uses a 2% concentration of mupirocin calcium. It may be used by patients who are at a high risk of developing a severe infection such as staph. It’s a thick ointment that is safe to apply directly into the nose. It’s important to use this only as recommended by a doctor. Like all antibiotics, it should only be used when indicated by a healthcare practitioner and shouldn’t be used any longer or shorter than is directed.  It isn’t intended for long-term usage.

This medication is often used when there is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA. It has sometimes been used as a protective measure when there’s an outbreak of this infection. If the nasal cavity has been colonized with this type of bacteria, Bactroban Nasal can rid the nose of it.

Bactroban Precautions and Warnings

This medication can cause patients to develop diarrhea. In some cases, it can be a severe case. This can happen after you’ve stopped using the medication for two months or longer. If you develop this diarrhea as a result of taking Bactroban Nasal, don’t treat it until you talk to your doctor about it.

If you’re using this medication, don’t use other medications that are applied inside the nose unless the doctor says to do so. If you get a lot of irritation in your nose, you should stop using it and let the doctor know about it. Use this medication during pregnancy only if it’s prescribed during pregnancy and your doctor knows about your pregnancy. It isn’t known whether this medication gets into break milk, so talk to your doctor about it before using while breastfeeding.

There have been instances of serious allergic reactions happening to this medication, including anaphylaxis. Make sure Bactroban Nasal doesn’t get into your eyes. It can cause serious reactions in the eyes including severe tearing and burning. Be sure to apply it only as your doctor directs it, and don’t use it later for other purposes.

It’s been reported that some patients who used this medication came down with Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, also called CDAD. The severity of this condition can range from being mild to being so severe that it becomes fatal. When an antibiotic is used, it can change the regular bacteria that’s in the colon. This can mean that the bacteria C. difficile grows too much, and this can lead to diarrhea and colitis. When there’s too much C. difficile in the colon, it will produce two toxins that lead to the patient having CDAD. There are some strains of C. difficile that produce hypertoxins. This can cause serious health problems as well as mortality.

If CDAD starts in a patient who has stopped taking Bactroban Nasal, it can be resistant to antibacterial therapies.  If it does develop, taking antibiotics that aren’t directed toward the overgrowth of C. difficile have to be stopped. In some cases, surgery is needed for the condition.

Bactroban Side Effects

It’s possible to get a rash from using this medication. It’s also possible for it to cause other microorganisms to get overgrown. These include fungi and other microorganism that aren’t susceptible to antibiotics.

It’s also important to watch for any diarrhea that starts at two months or more after stopping Bactroban Nasal. It’s possible for this to get very serious. If you take this medication for a long time, or take it for several different periods, it’s possible to develop a yeast infection or oral thrush. If you notice that there are white patches inside your mouth, tell your doctor right away.

It’s also possible to have a serious allergic reaction to this medication, though it’s rare. If you get serious dizziness, have trouble breathing, or have swelling on your face or in your mouth, you may be allergic to this medication. Seek medical help right away.

These common side effects may also be present:

  • Headaches
  • Rhinitis
  • A change in tastes
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Cough
  • Stinging and/or burning
  • Stuffy nose
  • Pharyngitis
  • Itching

Bactroban Drug Interactions

It’s possible to have problems if you use this medication along with other nasal products (such as Omnaris and Alrex). This can cause a lot of nasal irritation. If you’re prescribed Bactroban Nasal and already take another nasal medication, check with your doctor to find out whether you need to stop one of these medications. You should never stop taking a prescribed medication without the approval of your doctor.

Bactroban Strengths and Dosages

This medication comes in small tubes that are used to deliver the medication inside each nostril. Each tube is to be used only once, with half of it dispensed into one nostril and the other half being dispensed in the other nostril. It’s only for use inside the nose- not for the skin, eyes, or mouth.

Each of the tubes is 1 gram. It will hold and dispense .5 grams of the medication. This is .25 grams in each nostril. The ointment has 2.15% mupirocin calcium that’s suspended in a white ointment. The usual dosage is to take half a tube in each nostril twice a day, every day, for five days. The tubes have to be stored at room temperature and cannot be refrigerated or frozen. They generally come in packages that contain 10 tubes so it can be used twice daily for five days.

Size of each tube: 1 gram
Amount of medication in each: .5 grams
Amount per nostril: .25 grams


To take this medication, use the tube to dispense half of it into one nostril and then do the same in the other nostril. After this, press the nostrils together and release them repeatedly for a full minute in order to get the ointment throughout the inside of the nostrils. Make sure you have clean hands before you dispense it, and wash your hands again after using it. After you have applied a dose into each nostril, throw away that tube. The next time you apply it, you’ll do so from a fresh tube.

Cost of Bactroban in America 

A complete set of 10 Bactroban 1-gram tubes generally costs about $150 to $180.  The insurance that you have will also make a big difference in the price. If you’ve met your deductible, you’ll likely owe just a co-pay. If you haven’t met the deductible, you may owe a negotiated price that’s less than the full retail price.

There are no generics of this medication, but it is available under a few other brand names. These include Centany.

FAQs About Bactroban

What does Bactroban Nasal Ointment do?

This is an antibiotic cream that is used to protect patients from an outbreak of MRSA, a resistant form of staph infection. It can keep these bacteria from growing and causing the patient to come down with a serious staph infection.

How do you apply it?

Each tube has a pointy tip on it that’s placed into the nose. The tube is then squeezed until half of it comes out directly inside the nostril. The same is then done with the other nostril.

Is this medication available over the counter?

No, this is a prescription-only medication.

How long do you have to take it?

The standard course of this antibiotic is to take it twice a day for five consecutive days. It shouldn’t be stopped early unless there is a bad reaction to it.

What’s the active ingredient in Bactroban Nasal Ointment?

It’s an ingredient called mupirocin. It’s an antibiotic that can work against certain bacteria to prevent an infection of MRSA.

Can I take other nasal medications with this one?

Generally, it isn’t recommended to take more than one medication that is applied inside the nose.  Before you start taking this medication, check with your doctor if you already take a mediation that is applied inside the nostrils. Using more than one medication in the nose can lead to a lot of irritation.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

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