Antibiotics Home > What Is Retapamulin Used For?

Retapamulin ointment is prescribed to treat a certain type of bacterial skin infection called impetigo. The medication helps the body fight the infection by preventing the bacteria from growing and multiplying. It is approved for adults and children as young as nine months old. Possible off-label uses for retapamulin include treating or preventing other types of skin infections.

An Overview of Uses for Retapamulin

Retapamulin (Altabax®) is a prescription skin ointment approved for the treatment of impetigo. This is a common skin condition caused by a bacterial infection. It is common among young children, although older children and adults can have it as well.
Staphylococcus aureus bacteria are the most common cause of impetigo; however, Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria may also cause it (this occurs less often). Risk factors for impetigo may include warmth and humidity, skin damage, and living in crowded or unsanitary places (see Impetigo Causes for more information).
Impetigo typically begins as red, flat spots, or pimple-like bumps surrounded by red skin. It may appear as a single sore or, more commonly, as multiple sores. After a couple of days, the sores form blisters and fill with pus. They then burst and form a weepy, thick, yellow, gold, or brown crust. On occasion, the blisters may leave a crater in the skin. Impetigo is frequently found on the arms, legs, or face -- in particular, the nose and mouth.
(Click Impetigo Symptoms to learn more.)
Impetigo is treated with antibiotics, either applied directly to the skin (topical) or taken by mouth (oral). Retapamulin is a topical impetigo treatment, applied to the skin twice a day for five days.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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