Mupirocin is a topical antibiotic that AvKARE offers in 1 gram unit dose tubes. This antibiotic is used in the operating room to prevent bacteria from growing on your skin and to treat skin infections like impetigo and a variety of staph infections, including Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). In recent years, surgeons have been using Mupirocin ointment at wound or surgical sites to reduce and hopefully eliminate the risk of infection.
According to a National Health Statistics Report entitled, “Ambulatory Surgery Data From Hospitals and Ambulatory Surgery Centers: United States, 2010,“ completed by the Centers for Disease Control (1), there were 48.3 million surgical and non-surgical procedures performed in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers in the United States in 2010. Surgical site infections (SSI) developed in an estimated 290,000 cases. It is believed that these SSIs accounted for 22% of healthcare associated infections (HAI). The most common SSI in the US and around the world is caused by the pathogen S. aureus because it has unique pathogenicity and the ability to adhere to prosthetic material.
The benefits of using Mupirocin in the operating room are numerous. The presence of micro-organisms at a surgical sites causes a delay in wound healing, at best, and increased pain levels. According to the CDC, in 2010, SSIs resulted in an estimated 8,000 deaths and are believed to have caused an influx of almost $10 billion in direct and indirect medical costs (2).
Topical antibiotics solely target the location of the body where they are applied, therefore, the probability of undesirable effects on the whole body are drastically reduced. Side effects could include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash. Topical medications like Mupirocin also help reduce the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria, like MRSA, tuberculosis and pneumonia, which are caused by the overuse and misuse of antibiotics (3). Cases of antibiotic resistant bacteria have been on the rise in the last decade and I believe the real question is: why would you not use Mupirocin in the OR?