A comparison of the new topical antibiotic mupirocin ('Bactroban') with oral antibiotics in the treatment of skin infections in general practice

Curr Med Res Opin. 1986;10(5):339-45. doi: 10.1185/03007998609111100.


A trial was carried out in general practice in 200 patients presenting with skin infections to compare topical antibiotic treatment with mupirocin ointment with orally administered flucloxacillin or erythromycin. Patients were assigned at random to receive 4 to 10 days' treatment with either mupirocin applied 3-times daily or one of the oral antibiotics in the dosage normally used by the general practitioner for skin infections. The majority of infections were impetigo and infected wounds/lacerations; the main organisms isolated initially from 127 of the patients were either Staphylococcus aureus or beta-haemolytic Group A streptococci. Clinical response to mupirocin ointment (86% cured, 13% improved) was significantly better than that seen with erythromycin (47% cured, 26% improved) and similar to that with flucloxacillin (76% cured, 23% improved). Treatment outcome was not related to treatment duration with either the topical or oral preparations. Post-treatment samples from 76 patients showed that in the mupirocin group all the pathogens originally isolated were eliminated, including Gram-negative organisms.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Erythromycin / therapeutic use
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Floxacillin / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mupirocin
  • Random Allocation
  • Skin Diseases, Infectious / drug therapy*
  • Skin Diseases, Infectious / microbiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / drug therapy*
  • Streptococcal Infections / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Fatty Acids
  • Floxacillin
  • Erythromycin
  • Mupirocin