Treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis exacerbations due to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus with mupirocin irrigations

Am J Otolaryngol. May-Jun 2006;27(3):161-5. doi: 10.1016/j.amjoto.2005.09.006.


Introduction: Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) exacerbations due to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are routinely encountered. Treatment often involves intravenous antibiotics that provide only transient benefits. Mupirocin has well-recognized antistaphylococcal activity, and its nasal formulation is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the eradication of nasal colonization with MRSA.

Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the use of mupirocin nasal irrigations for the treatment of CRS exacerbations due to MRSA.

Materials and methods: Charts of patients who received mupirocin nasal irrigations for MRSA exacerbations of CRS between January 2000 and October 2003 were reviewed.

Results: Forty-two MRSA-positive cultures were obtained from 24 patients (mean age, 61 years; range, 38-82 years; 15 women and 6 men). Twenty-eight episodes were treated with mupirocin nasal irrigations and doxycycline; 4 were treated with mupirocin nasal irrigations and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and 7 episodes were treated with mupirocin nasal irrigations alone. Patients were reevaluated at approximately 4 to 6 weeks. Repeat cultures were not obtained in 12 patients (because of clinical and endoscopic resolution). Adequate follow-up was unavailable for 3 patients, and of the 27 repeat cultures, only 1 grew MRSA. Twelve patients had at least one recurrence, with a mean number of episodes of 1.75 (range, 1-8 episodes). The mean follow-up was 11.8 months (range, 3-27 months).

Conclusions: Mupirocin nasal irrigations may avoid the need for intravenous antibiotics, which often provide temporary benefits and entail greater cost and morbidity. Thus, mupirocin nasal irrigations may provide a relatively simple means for the management of MRSA exacerbations of CRS.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methicillin Resistance*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mupirocin / administration & dosage
  • Mupirocin / therapeutic use*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rhinitis / drug therapy*
  • Rhinitis / microbiology*
  • Sinusitis / drug therapy*
  • Sinusitis / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / drug therapy*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcus aureus*
  • Therapeutic Irrigation / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Mupirocin