Bacitracin is an antibiotic used for certain dermatologic conditions in a topical ointment formulation under a variety of brand names (Mupirocin, Bactroban, Baci-rx, Baciguent®, BACiiM™). It is active against gram positive bacteria including streptococci and staphylococci, which cause skin infections. Consequently, Bacitracin is used to treat skin infections such as impetigo. It is also effective against bacterial strains which are penicillin resistant.
Bacitracin works by interfering with cellular processes within the bacteria cells, preventing the bacteria from growing. It is produced by organisms belonging to the licheniformis group of Bacillus subtilis var Tracy. It was first isolated in 1943 from a young girl named Margaret Tracy who had scraped her knee, hence its name. With respect to side effects, bacitracin can cause contact dermatitis in some people, and is known to cross-react with allergic sensitivity to sulfa-drugs. It is important to follow your physician’s instructions carefully when using this medication.