Mupirocin inhibits bacterial RNA and protein synthesis. It is available only as a 2% topical preparation, which is bactericidal against staphylococci and β-hemolytic streptococci. Systemic absorption of topical mupirocin is negligible.
Mupirocin is used for impetigo and for minor superficial secondarily infected skin lesions. Mupirocin can also eradicate Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage, although relapse rates may be high. Chronic therapy leads to mupirocin-resistant staphylococci.
Mupirocin is nontoxic but, when applied to denuded skin or mucous membranes, may cause itching and burning.
Last full review/revision July 2009 by Matthew E. Levison, MD
Content last modified February 2012