Retapamulin: An Antibacterial With a Novel Mode of Action in an Age of Emerging Resistance to Staphylococcus aureus

October 2010 | Volume 9 | Issue 10 | Original Article | 1198 | Copyright © 2010

Jeffrey M. Weinberg MD and Stephen K. Tyring MD PhD


Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is the leading cause of nosocomial infections and responsible for more than 11 million skin and soft tissue infections annually. Impetigo is a common skin infection and the most common bacterial skin infection in children aged two to five years. The emergence of S. aureus isolates resistant to commonly utilized antibacterials for skin infections (β-lactams, erythromycin, fluoroquinolones and mupirocin) makes successful treatment an ongoing challenge. To treat skin infections such as impetigo, antibacterials with a short dosing schedule and low propensity to develop resistance should be used. In 2007, retapamulin was the first agent for human use approved in the pleuromutilin class of antibacterials in the United States (U.S.), and is the first topical antibacterial indicated to treat impetigo in over 20 years. In vitro, retapamulin is highly potent against S. aureus and has a lower propensity to develop resistance than mupirocin. In clinical studies, the convenient five-day b.i.d. (twice-daily) dosing of retapamulin is highly effective against impetigo due to methicillin- susceptible S. aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes and may play an important role in limiting the development of resistance against systemic agents.

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