1 What is Altabax?

Brand: Altabax, Altargo (ointment)

Generic: Retapamulin

Altabax is a topical antibiotic used to treat a bacterial skin infection called Impetigo.

2 What To Know Before Using

Altabax is for use on the skin only. Do not get it in your eyes, nose, mouth, or vagina.

Do not use on skin areas that have cuts or scrapes. If it does get on these areas, rinse it off right away.

For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

It is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the following medicines:

Atazanavir - Boceprevir - Clarithromycin - Cobicistat -Conivaptan - Indinavir - Itraconazole - Ketoconazole - Lopinavir - Nefazodone - Nelfinavir - Posaconazole - Ritonavir - Saquinavir - Telaprevir - Telithromycin -Tipranavir -Voriconazole.

Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

It is highly recommended to tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially skin infections other than Impetigo.

3 Proper Usage

Wash your hands with soap and water before using Altabax. Also, wash your hands with soap and water after using this medicine if the hands are not the area for treatment.

Before applying this medicine, wash the affected area with soap and water, and dry thoroughly. Then apply a thin layer to the affected area and rub in gently.

After applying this medicine, the treated area may be covered with a sterile bandage or gauze dressing, if desired.

Keep using this medicine for the full treatment time, even if your symptoms have improved after the first few doses. Your infection may not clear up if you stop using the medicine too soon.

Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label.


The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, apply it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.


Keep out of the reach of children. Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

4 Precautions to Take

In using Altabax, you must be careful and take some precautions as advised by your doctor.

For impetigo:

  • Adults and children 9 months of age and older - Apply to the affected area of the skin two times a day for 5 days.
  • Children below 9 months of age - Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

If your skin infection does not improve within 3 to 4 days, or if it becomes worse, check with your doctor.

Pediatric appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of Retapamulin in children below 9 months of age.

Geriatric appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatrics-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of Retapamulin in the elderly.

5 Potential Side Effects

Some side effects may occur when using Altabax that usually do not need medical attention. These may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine.

The most common side effect in children enrolled in clinical trials was application site irritation (in 1.9% of patients).

Other adverse effects included application site pruritus (1.9%), diarrhea (1.7%), nasopharyngitis (1.5%), headache (1.2%), pyrexia (1.2%), and eczema (1%).

In adults who received Retapamulin during clinical trials, a headache was the most frequently reported adverse effect, occurring in 2% of patients.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Less Common

  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Skin rash
  • Swelling
  • Soreness at site skin rash
  • Encrusted
  • Scaly
  • Oozing


  • Blistering
  • Burning
  • Crusting
  • Dryness
  • Flaking of skin
  • Flushing
  • Redness of skin
  • Itching
  • Scaling
  • Severe redness
  • Soreness
  • Swelling of skin and pain at the site of application

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:diarrhea, fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea, sore throat stuffy or a runny nose, unusual tiredness or weakness.

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

6 Related Clinical Trials