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Mupirocin may not be the right choice for every patient. In such cases, it is important to discuss with a medical provider potential mupirocin alternatives.

Mupirocin Alternatives

What are your options when it comes to alternatives for mupirocin?

NOTE: Mupirocin may not be appropriate for ALL of the conditions below.

For Cuts

Neosporin is a possible alternative medication for mupirocin and is available in over-the-counter products. It will not kill as broad a range of bacteria as mupirocin, but not all cuts need that strength of antibiotics. 

For Rash

Mupirocin is not necessarily the first line of treatment for common rashes. An over-the-counter antibiotic like Neosporin might be the better option. In some cases, a rash might not require an antibiotic at all, simple first-aid, or an anti-itch medication or even a moisturizing lotion is the best choice.  For rashes that are persistent always seek advice from a dermatologist. Hydrocortisone may also help a rash, but there are many different types of rashes.

For Acne

Antibiotic treatment useful for acne usually contains benzoyl peroxide because it helps reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance. Some examples of medications with this component include BenzaClin, Duac, Acanya, and Benyzamycin

One possible topical antibiotics similar to mupirocin is Cleocin (clindamycin), which works by inhibiting bacterial growth. 

For Poison Ivy

Poison ivy treatment typically revolves around home care options, such as over-the-counter corticosteroid cream or calamine lotion. In some cases, an oral antihistamine like Benadryl might be useful. 

For Burns

Most minor burns do not require a topical antibiotic like mupirocin. The goal is to keep the burn clean and protected, and there are other ointments better suited for that kind of treatment, such as petroleum jelly. Aloe vera may be beneficial for some burns.

For more severe burns or infected ones, follow whatever treatment the medical provider prescribes. Most likely, that will involve an intravenous antibiotic, not a topical one. 


Mupirocin is sometimes a practical choice for the nasal decolonization of MRSA. Other options would include povidone-iodine (iodopovidone), an antiseptic used to disinfect skin, Bacitracin, and Retapumulin, which help inhibit the spread of the bacteria in a similar way. maybe useful, as well.

For a Boil

There are many antibiotics suitable to treat boils, including Cleocin (clindamycin) and Keflex (cephalexin). Both Cleocin and Keflex work in a similar way as mupirocin. 

For Staph

Many antibiotics work to eliminate staph infections, including medications like Vancocin (vancomycin) and Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim). Antibiotics for staph may include topicals, oral medications, or IV drugs, depending on the severity and type of infection. 

For Stye

Mupirocin ointment WOULD NOT be recommended to treat a stye, which is an infection in the oil gland in the eyelid. Only certain medications are designed to be put or around the eye. Some possible antibiotic options include erythromycin ophthalmic ointment. If an antibiotic is necessary, it will be one designed for use in or near the eye or an oral medication such as Keflex (cephalexin) as the best choice for treatment. 

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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