Centany (Mupirocin) - Topical

What Is Centany?

Centany (mupirocin) is a topical prescription antibiotic applied to the skin to treat impetigo (a contagious skin infection that causes red sores to appear on the face) or other bacterial skin infections. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria on the skin.

Centany is available as an ointment. However, mupirocin is also available as a cream in generic form.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Mupirocin

Brand Name(s): Centany, Bactroban

Drug Availability: Prescription

Active Ingredient: Mupirocin

Therapeutic Classification: Antibacterial

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: N/A

Administration Route: Topical

Dosage Form(s): Ointment, cream

What Is Centany Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Centany to treat impetigo and other skin infections caused by certain bacteria. Centany does not treat viral or fungal infections.

Centany contains mupirocin in an ointment form. Mupirocin is also available in a topical cream form.

Cetany (Mupirocin) Drug Information: A child with an open wound on their arm and sores or mucous membranes on their nose and lips

Verywell / Dennis Madamba

How to Use Centany

If you are prescribed Centany, read the prescription label and the information leaflet that comes with your prescription. Consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions.

Use Centany exactly as directed by your healthcare provider, and do not skip doses.

The following are general instructions for using the ointment:

  • Wash your hands before applying.
  • Clean and dry the affected area where you will apply the ointment. Apply a small amount with cotton or gauze. Do not use Centany on large areas of skin.
  • Centany is for use topically on the skin. Do not put it in your mouth. If any ointment gets into the eyes, nose, or mouth, rinse immediately with water.
  • You may cover the treated skin with a sterile gauze pad. Do not use a bandage or wrap (unless directed by your healthcare provider).
  • Wash your hands after applying.

Contact your healthcare provider if your symptoms worsen or do not improve within five days. Even if your symptoms improve, do not skip doses. Continue to use Centany for the entire length of time prescribed. This ensures your infection will clear and helps prevent antibiotic resistance.


Store Centany at room temperature, away from direct light, heat, and moisture. Keep Centany out of reach of children and pets.

Off-Label Uses

Sometimes Centany is used off-label for indications that are not FDA approved.

Some examples where healthcare providers may prescribe mupirocin off-label include:

  • To treat infected eczema due to certain bacteria
  • To treat folliculitis (inflamed hair follicles) due to certain bacteria
  • To prevent bacterial infections or colonization in a health care setting (for this indication, mupirocin is administered into the nostrils)

How Long Does Centany Take to Work?

Centany should begin to improve symptoms within just a few days. If your symptoms worsen or do not improve by the fifth day, contact your healthcare provider. Finish the full course of treatment as prescribed.

What Are the Side Effects of Centany?

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

Like other medications, Centany can cause side effects. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effects you experience while taking this medication.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects of Centany are:

  • Local reactions such as burning, itching, stinging, and pain
  • Nausea
  • Headache

Severe Side Effects

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Hypersensitivity reaction or anaphylaxis: Symptoms can include rash, hives, swelling around the lips, tongue, and face, and difficulty breathing. An allergic reaction requires medical attention.
  • Clostridioides difficile-associated diarrhea: Antibiotics, in general, are known for causing this type of diarrhea, which can range from mild to life-threatening and cause death if untreated. Be alert to symptoms of severe, watery, or bloody diarrhea and stomach cramps. Notify your healthcare provider right away. This type of diarrhea can occur up to two or more months after using antibiotics.
  • Superinfection: Superinfection is a secondary infection that occurs after the first infection, such as a fungal infection. This is more likely to occur with prolonged Centany use. However, prolonged use of Centany is not recommended for this reason.

Long-Term Side Effects

Although generally well tolerated and only used for a short time, long-term or delayed side effects are possible. Some long-term side effects can be mild, such as:

Moderate and severe long-term side effects can include:

  • C. difficile-associated diarrhea
  • Contact dermatitis (itchy skin rash)
  • Superinfection
  • Swelling and sores in the mouth

Report Side Effects

Centany may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication. If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Centany Should I Use?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For topical dosage form (cream):
    • For treatment of secondarily infected traumatic skin lesions:
      • Adults and children 3 months of age and older—Apply three times a day for 10 days.
      • Children younger than 3 months of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For topical dosage form (ointment):
    • For treatment of impetigo:
      • Adults and children 2 months of age and older—Apply three times a day.
      • Children younger than 2 months of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.


Due to the lack of data, pregnant people should only use Centany if necessary. The prescribing information also recommends that breastfeeding people should use Centany with caution.

Consult your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, apply Centany as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose. Do not use extra Centany to try to make up for a missed dose.

Overdose: What Happens If I Use Too Much Centany?

Using too much Centany is not expected to result in life-threatening side effects. Avoid using more than prescribed to prevent any application site reactions. Do not ingest the ointment; keep it away from pets or children to prevent accidental ingestion.

What Happens If I Overdose on Centany?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Centany, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after using Centany, call 911 immediately.


Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

If your skin infection does not improve within 3 to 5 days, or if it becomes worse, check with your doctor.

This medicine may cause diarrhea, and in some cases it can be severe. It may occur 2 months or more after you stop using this medicine. Do not take any medicine to treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor. If you have any questions or if mild diarrhea continues or gets worse, check with your doctor.

Check with your doctor right away if you have a severe itching, skin rash, burning, stinging, redness, swelling, or irritation on the skin.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn't Use Centany?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to mupirocin or any inactive ingredient in Centany. Other people who should not use Centany include those with open wounds, burns (especially extensive ones), or other damaged skin.

Centany may be prescribed with caution in some people only if the healthcare provider determines it is safe. This includes people with moderate to severe kidney problems.

What Other Medications May Interact With Centany?

There are no significant known drug interactions with Centany.

Share any medication allergies with your healthcare provider and tell them what prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, vitamins, or herbal supplements you take.

What Medications Are Similar?

Centany contains mupirocin in an ointment form. Mupirocin is also available as a cream.

Centany is used topically on the skin to treat impetigo. Altabax (retapamulin) is another ointment also prescribed to treat impetigo.

In some cases, a healthcare provider may also need to prescribe an oral antibiotic (an antibiotic taken by mouth), such as amoxicillin, to treat impetigo.

This list is a list of drugs also used for impetigo or skin infections. It is NOT a list of drugs recommended to take with Centany. Discuss any questions or concerns with your pharmacist or a healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Centany used for?

    Centany is a prescription topical antibiotic that is applied to the skin to treat impetigo or other bacterial skin infections.

  • How does Centany work?

    Centany works by stopping the growth of bacteria.

  • What drugs should not be taken with Centany?

    There are no known drug interactions with Centany.

  • How long does it take for Centany to work?

    You should start to notice an improvement in symptoms within a few days. Contact your healthcare provider if your symptoms do not improve or worsen after five days of treatment. Finish the full course as prescribed.

  • What are the side effects of Centany?

    Common side effects include local reactions such as burning, itching, stinging, and pain. Nausea or headache may also occur.

  • How do I stop taking Centany?

    Your healthcare provider will tell you how long to use Centany.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Centany?

Impetigo is most common in children 2 to 5 years of age but can also occur in adults.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are some tips you can follow if you or your child has impetigo:

  • Keep impetigo sores covered to help prevent spreading the bacteria. If you also have scabies (a condition caused by a mite), your healthcare provider will treat that as well, which will help to prevent impetigo.
  • Anytime you have a minor cut, blister, or scrape, wash it with soap and water.
  • Clean and cover an open or draining wound with bandages until it is healed.
  • Visit your healthcare provider for any deep or serious wounds or puncture wounds.
  • Avoid hot tubs, swimming pools, and other bodies of water if you have an open wound or infection.
  • Practice good personal hygiene. Wash your body and hair frequently in the shower.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds) and often, especially after sneezing or coughing.
  • If someone in the house has impetigo, wash clothes and other personal items, such as sheets, washcloths, and towels, daily. These items should not be shared.
  • Use topical and/or oral antibiotics as prescribed. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions for use and complete the full course of treatment.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

9 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  4. Epocrates. Mupirocin topical.

  5. Howe W. Treatment of atopic dermatitis (eczema). UpToDate.

  6. Lin HS, Lin PT, Tsai YS, et al. Interventions for bacterial folliculitis and boils (furuncles and carbuncles). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2018; 2018(8): CD013099. doi:10.1002/14651858

  7. Sakr A, Brégeon F, Rolain JM, Blin O. Staphylococcus aureus nasal decolonization strategies: a review. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2019;17(5):327-340. doi:10.1080/14787210.2019.1604220

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By Karen Berger, PharmD
Karen Berger, PharmD, is a community pharmacist and medical writer/reviewer.