Altabax ointment is a topical antibiotic used to treat impetigo in adults and children as young as nine months old. The medication works to prevent bacteria from growing and multiplying. On occasion, a healthcare provider may recommend off-label uses for Altabax, such as treating and preventing other types of skin infections.
What Is Altabax Used For?Altabax® (retapamulin) is a prescription skin ointment approved for the treatment of impetigo. Impetigo is a common skin condition caused by a bacterial infection. It is common among young children, although older children and adults can have it as well.
Staphylococcus aureus bacteria is the most common cause of impetigo; however, Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria can also cause it (this is not as common). Risk factors for this condition include warmth and humidity, skin damage, and living in crowded or unsanitary places (see Impetigo Causes for more information).
Impetigo typically begins as red, flat spots, or pimple-like bumps surrounded by red skin. It may appear as a single sore or, more commonly, as multiple sores. After a couple of days, the sores form blisters and fill with pus. They then burst and form a weepy, thick, yellow, gold, or brown crust. On occasion, the blisters may leave a crater in the skin.
Impetigo is frequently found on the arms, legs, or face, especially the nose and mouth.
(Click Impetigo Symptoms to learn more.)
This condition is treated with antibiotics, either applied directly to the skin (topical) or taken by mouth (oral). Altabax is a topical impetigo treatment, applied to the skin twice a day for five days.