Bacitracin – inhibits cell wall formation by bacteria
Neosporin®(Bacitracin/Neomycin/Polymyxin B) – interferes with bacterial protein synthesis and cell wall formation
Clindamycin – inhibits bacterial protein synthesis
Erythromycin – inhibits bacterial protein synthesis
Mafenide – interferes with bacterial folic acid synthesis
Mupirocin – inhibits bacterial protein synthesis
Retapamulin – inhibits bacterial protein synthesis
Silver sulfadiazine – acts against bacterial cell wall and cell membrane
Sulfacetamide – inhibits bacteria’s ability to make folic acid
What Conditions Do Topical Antibiotics Treat?
Table 2. FDA-Approved Uses of Antibiotic Medications
Secondary bacterial skin infections
(Bacitracin/ Neomycin/ Polymyxin B)
Prevention and treatment of skin infection in mild cuts
Mafenide cream for treatment of patients with second and third-degree burns, or used on moist dressings over skin grafts for burns
-Eradication of nasal colonization with MRSA
-Secondary bacterial skin infections
-Secondary bacterial skin infection
Prevention of wound sepsis in second and third-degree burns
How Are Topical Antibiotics Given?
Topical antibiotic medications are typically given as a cream or ointment that is applied to the skin. Topical antibiotics are often used daily for one to two weeks, but sometimes require repeat treatments. Certain topical antibiotics are also given in the form of shampoo and body wash to treat conditions such as dandruff.
Common Side Effects and Risks of Topical Antibiotics
Table 3. Most Common Side Effects of Topical Antibiotics
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