The Uses and Effectiveness of Retapamulin

29 November, 2020
Retapamulin is indicated for the short-term treatment of impetigo and minor wounds and chafing. The key to the effectiveness of Retapamulin is its ability to inhibit bacterial protein synthesis in the ribosome.

Today, we want to talk about a relatively new drug that belongs to the family of antibiotics. As we’ll see later, it’s used topically for the treatment of impetigo and secondary infections in small wounds or chafed skin. In the article below, we’ll tell you more about the uses and effectiveness of Retapamulin.

This medication is active against infections triggered by the bacteria S. aureus and S. pyogenes. However, you shouldn’t use retapamulin to treat abscesses or skin infections having to do with these two methicillin-resistant bacteria. Nor should you use it in the case of infections that are secondary to dermatosis.

In clinical trials that have taken place, the effectiveness of retapamulin has not proven to have superior efficacy to that of fusidic acid in patients with impetigo. However, we’ll look at this in greater detail below.

In the same way, in patients with secondary infections to traumatic injuries, retapamulin has not proven to be more effective than oral cephalexin.

Thus, in comparison to the drugs of choice for these indications, i.e. mupirocin, fusidic acid, and oral cephalexin, treatment with retapamulin doesn’t provide additional advantages in either efficacy or safety. What’s more, even the cost of this drug is higher.

Indications for retapamulin

A man applying gauze to his skinned knee.

As mentioned, this antibiotic is effective against S. aureus and S. pyogenes infections. Specifically, it’s a topical treatment of superficial skin lesions in adolescents, children, and infants over the age of 9 months.

The infections that this antibiotic can treat are the following:

  • Impetigo: Impetigo is a common, highly contagious skin infection that mainly affects infants and young children. It usually appears as red sores on the face, especially around the nose and mouth, and on the hands and feet.
  • Infections of minor wounds, sores, or chafing.

What are the doses, administration guidelines and mechanism of action?

When administering this ointment, you should apply a thin layer to the affected area. What’s more, you should do so twice a day for five consecutive days. In addition, doctors usually recommend covering the wound or injury with a bandage or sterile gauze. Doing so promotes the action of the antibiotic.

It’s important to keep in mind that this antibiotic is strictly for topical use. Administering in any other way can lead to health problems.

At the same time, as for its mechanism of action, the effectiveness of Retapamulin is due to its capacity to inhibit the synthesis of bacterial proteins in the ribosome. It hasn’t demonstrated specific cross-resistance with other classes of antibacterial agents.

Discover: Self Medication and its Health Risks

How effective has it been?

A doctor preparing medication.

Clinical trials reveal how effective drugs are. In this case, two trials have taken place comparing the effectiveness of retapamulin against fusidic acid, cephalexin, and placebo.

The objective was to study the rate of clinical cure of the infection. Professionals consider clinical cure to be the resolution or improvement of the infection without needing the application of another additional antibiotic.

Another trial demonstrated a clinical cure rate of 1% retapamulin similar to that of 2% fusidic acid ointment. 517 patients with impetigo participated in the trial.

Adverse reactions

The use of this drug is not associated with many adverse effects. The most frequent is irritation in the area of application. In addition, both the frequency, types, and severity of adverse reactions in the pediatric population are the same as in the adult population.

As we’ve said, the main adverse reaction is irritation. However, other reactions, such as itching and erythema, can also develop in the treated area. There have also been reports of some cases of hypersensitivity and angioedema reactions.

Read also: Excessive Hygiene and Antibiotic Resistance

Conclusion

Retapamulin is a semi-synthetic antibiotic indicated for the treatment of impetigo and secondary infections in small wounds or chafing.

Although it’s a safe medication and can be administered topically, it’s not exempt from adverse reactions. For this reason, you should always follow your doctor’s instructions to avoid abusing this medication. At the same time, you should never self-medicate with this or any other drug.

  • Daudén, E. (2009). Introducción a las infecciones bacterianas cutáneas. Actas Dermo-Sifiliográficas. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0001-7310(07)70175-8
  • Sáenz, E., & Sánchez, L. (2005). Antibióticos Tópicos. Dermatol Peru.
  • Porras-Luque, J. I. (2007). Antimicrobianos tópicos en Dermatología. Actas Dermo-Sifiliográficas. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0001-7310(07)70179-5