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While most people do not experience any side effects with Bactroban, adverse reactions are possible and can vary depending on the form used. Bactroban skin cream, for example, can cause burning, itching, or a rash, while the nasal ointment may cause headache, sore throat, or cough. Serious side effects, such as unexplained wheezing or swelling, should be reported to a healthcare provider right away.

Does Bactroban Have Side Effects?

Just like any medicine, Bactroban® (mupirocin) can cause side effects. However, not everyone who takes the medication will have problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in many cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Bactroban. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Common Side Effects of Bactroban

Bactroban has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials. In these studies, the side effects that occurred in a group of people using the drug were carefully documented. There are three different types of Bactroban products (skin cream, skin ointment, and nasal ointment). Each of these products seems likely to cause slightly different side effects.
With Bactroban skin cream, the most common side effects included:
  • Nausea -- in up to 4.9 percent of people
  • Headache -- up to 3.6 percent
  • Burning -- up to 3.6 percent
  • Itching -- up to 2.4 percent
  • Headache -- up to 1.7 percent
  • Rash -- up to 1.1 percent.
In studies, the most common side effect seen with the skin ointment included:
  • Burning, stinging, or pain -- in up to 1.5 percent of people
  • Itching -- up to 1 percent.
The most common side effects of Bactroban nasal ointment included:
  • Headache -- in up to 9 percent of people
  • Stuffy or runny nose -- up to 6 percent
  • Respiratory tract problems, including upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold -- up to 5 percent
  • Sore throat -- up to 4 percent
  • Taste changes -- up to 3 percent
  • Burning or stinging -- up to 2 percent
  • Cough -- up to 2 percent
  • Itching -- up to 1 percent.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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