Why is this medication prescribed?
Bacitracin is used to help prevent minor skin injuries such as cuts, scrapes, and burns from becoming infected. Bacitracin is in a class of medications called antibiotics. Bacitracin works by stopping the growth of bacteria.
How should this medicine be used?
Bacitracin comes as an ointment to apply to the skin. It is usually used one to three times a day. Bacitracin ointment is available without a prescription. However, your doctor may give you special directions on the use of this medication for your medical problem. Follow the directions on the package or those given to you by your doctor carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use bacitracin exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor or written on the package.
This medication is for use only on the skin. Do not let bacitracin get into your eyes, nose, or mouth and do not swallow it.
You may use bacitracin to treat minor skin injuries. However, you should not use this medication to treat deep cuts, puncture wounds, animal bites, serious burns, or any injuries that affect large areas of your body. You should call your doctor or get emergency medical help if you have these types of injuries. A different treatment may be needed. You should also stop using this medication and call your doctor if you use this medication to treat a minor skin injury and your symptoms do not go away within 1 week.
Do not apply this medication to a child's diaper area, especially if the skin surface is broken or raw, unless told to do so by a doctor. If you are told to apply it to a child's diaper area, do not use tightly fitting diapers or plastic pants.
To use the ointment, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands well with soap and water. Wash the injured area with soap and water and pat dry thoroughly with a clean towel.
- Apply a small amount of the ointment (an amount equal to the size of your finger tip) to the injured skin. A thin layer is all that is needed. Do not touch the tip of the tube to your skin, hands, or anything else.
- Replace and tighten the cap right away.
- You may cover the affected area with a sterile bandage.
- Wash your hands again.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using bacitracin,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to bacitracin, zinc, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in bacitracin ointment.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using bacitracin, call your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Bacitracin may cause side effects. If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop using bacitracin ointment and call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
Bacitracin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
What other information should I know?
If your doctor has told you to use this medication, keep all appointments with your doctor. Call your doctor if you still have symptoms of infection after you finish using this medication as directed.
Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about bacitracin ointment.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.