Bacitracin (topical)

The need-to-know information for Bacitracin


Some pearls and fun nuggets

1. Bacitracin is less likely to cause an allergic reaction over ointments 😇   It is also commonly used as an aftercare antibiotic on tattoos and circumcision. It is preferred over combination products such as Neosporin because of its fewer ingredients, which lowers chances of an allergic reaction.[5]

2. Ironically, it still a big culprit for allergic reactions 😅 In 2005–06, it was the sixth-most-prevalent allergen in patch tests (9.2%).[6]  It was voted Allergen of the Year in 2003 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society.[7]

3. There’s a story behind the name 📖The drug’s name derives from the fact that it was isolated by Balbina Johnson[14] from a girl named Margaret Treacy (1936–1994):[15] The surname was misspelled and the name was shortened to the more common spelling Tracy.

One strain isolated from tissue debrided from a compound fracture of the tibia was particularly active. We named this growth-antagonistic strain for the patient, “Tracy I.” When cell-free filtrates of broth cultures of this bacillus proved to possess strong antibiotic activity and to be non-toxic, further study seemed warranted. We have called this active principle “Bacitracin.[16]

Patient Perspectives

“Eyelid surgery 4/9/18. Bacitracin Topical ordered by surgeon AM & PM to eyelids sutures. Swelling, burning, itching, skin peeling and trouble breathing. Saw surgeon 4/18/18: surgeon stopped bacitracin, warm water compresses and removes sutures. Have contacted primary physician for assistance for my allergic reaction requesting assistance from pcp, dermatologist or ER on 4/19/18. Awaiting reply.”


My belly button piercing had gotten infected and within 48 hours of use, the infection had almost completely cleared up & there were little to no remaining symptoms.


Just use for minor irritations and it will do the job for you.

Brandon Simpson, PA-C
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