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NEOSPORIN® Ingredients and Usage

NEOSPORIN® is available in various formulations, including ointments and creams. The most common is a triple antibiotic, containing bacitracin, polymyxin B and neomycin2.

NEOSPORIN® is also available as NEOSPORIN® + Pain Relief Ointment and NEOSPORIN® + Pain Itch Scar Ointment. Both contain bacitracin, polymyxin B and neomycin, plus the topical anesthetic pramoxine.

What can NEOSPORIN® be used for?

You can use it to:

  • Keep a wound moist, which can help reduce the chances of scarring

  • Reduce the risk of infection

  • Ease pain

When should I not use NEOSPORIN®?

Avoid using NEOSPORIN® on:

  • Moderate to severe injuries

  • Animal bites3

  • Puncture wounds2

  • Deep wounds2

How to use NEOSPORIN®

Before use:

  • Tell your doctor if you have had any unusual or allergic reactions to this medicine3

  • Do not use NEOSPORIN® in the eyes or mouth3

  • Wash your hands before and after use2

Using NEOSPORIN®:

  • Before application, wash the affected area with soap and water, then dry thoroughly3 or use an antiseptic wash to clean the wound

  • Treat the wound with NEOSPORIN® by applying a small amount to the wound until it is healed

  • After application, protect the treated area with a sterile bandage or gauze dressing3

NEOSPORIN® dosage

Apply a small amount of NEOSPORIN®, an amount equal to the surface area of the tip of your finger, to the wound  1 to 3 times a day.

NEOSPORIN® side effects

Stop use and contact your doctor or healthcare professional if:

  • You need to use for longer than one week

  • The condition of the wound persists or gets worse

  • A rash or other allergic reaction develops

  • You experience itching

NEOSPORIN® is the number-one doctor recommended brand of topical antibiotic in the US. You can find a range of available products here.

NEOSPORIN® vs POLYSPORIN® Ingredients and Usage

POLYSPORIN® is a double antibiotic available in various formulations, including ointments and gels. Like NEOSPORIN®, it contains bacitracin and polymyxin B. Unlike NEOSPORIN®, which is a triple antibiotic, it does not contain neomycin4.

What can POLYSPORIN® be used for?

Like NEOSPORIN®, POLYSPORIN® can be used to help:

  • Keeping a wound moist, which can limit scarring

  • Reduce the chance of the wound becoming infected

  • Ease pain and discomfort

When should I not use POLYSPORIN®?

Avoid using POLYSPORIN® on:

  • Moderate to severe injuries

  • Animal bites

  • Puncture wounds

  • Deep wounds

How to use POLYSPORIN®

Before use:

  • Tell your doctor if you have had any unusual or allergic reactions to this medicine1

  • Do not use POLYSPORIN® in the eyes or mouth5

  • Wash your hands before and after use4

Using POLYSPORIN®

  • Before application, wash the affected area with soap and water, then dry thoroughly or use an antiseptic wash to clean the wound

  • Treat the wound with POLYSPORIN® by applying a small amount to the wound until it is healed

  • After application, protect the treated area with a sterile bandage or gauze3

POLYSPORIN® dosage

Apply a small amount of POLYSPORIN®, an amount equal to the surface area of the tip of your finger, to the wound  1 to 3 times a day.

POLYSPORIN® side effects

Contact your doctor or healthcare professional if:

  • You need to use for longer than 1 week

  • The condition persists or gets worse

  • A rash or other allergic reaction develops

What is the difference between NEOSPORIN® and POLYSPORIN®?

POLYSPORIN® doesn’t contain neomycin. Some people are allergic to neomycin, making POLYSPORIN® a potential alternative in such cases.

NEOSPORIN® vs Bacitracin Ingredients and Usage

Bacitracin is an antibiotic that is only available as an ointment.

What can Bacitracin be used for?

Like NEOSPORIN®, Bacitracin can be used to help:

  • Keeping a cut or burn moist, which limits the chances of scarring

  • Reduce the risk of infection

  • Ease your pain

When should I not use Bacitracin?

Avoid using Bacitracin on:

  • Moderate to severe injuries

  • Animal bites

  • Puncture wounds

  • Deep wounds

How to use Bacitracin

Before use:

  • Tell your doctor if you have had any unusual or allergic reactions to this medicine5

  • Do not use Bacitracin in the eyes or mouth6

  • Wash your hands before and after use5

Using Bacitracin:

  • Before application, wash the affected area with soap and water, then dry thoroughly or use an antiseptic wash to clean the wound

  • Treat the wound with Bacitracin by applying a small amount to the wound until it is healed

  • After application, protect the treated area with a sterile bandage or gauze

Bacitracin dosage

The dosage of Bacitracin varies according to the patient. You should follow your doctor’s instructions or the directions on the label. The average dose for adults and children is to apply to the affected area two to five times a day.

If you miss a dose, apply as soon as possible after you realize. However, if it’s nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Do not use double or extra doses5.

Bacitracin side effects

Contact your doctor or healthcare professional if you have:

  • An allergic reaction – for example a skin rash, itching, hives, or swelling of the lips, face or tongue5

  • Infection, redness or swelling of the tongue5

  • Breathing problems5

  • Chest tightness5

  • Lower back pain5

  • Pain, difficulty passing urine5

What is the difference between NEOSPORIN® and Bacitracin?

NEOSPORIN® is most commonly a triple antibiotic that contains three antibiotic ingredients, including Bacitracin for 24-hour protection against infections. Bacitracin, meanwhile, is a single antibiotic ointment. If you have any allergies to neomycin or polymyxin B, Bacitracin could be used as an alternative.

Compare POLYSPORIN® vs NEOSPORIN® vs Bacitracin

Here’s a simple yet effective way to compare and contrast the three ointments. It may help you decide which antibiotic would suit you and your first-aid kit.

Polysporin vs Neosporin vs Bacitracin

FAQs

What should I watch for when using these medicines?

Speak to your doctor or healthcare professional if your symptoms do not improve within seven days, or if they get worse.

How should I store these medicines?

All three medicines should be protected from light and kept at room temperature.

  • NEOSPORIN® and POLYSPORIN® should be ideally stored between 68°F to 77°F 2 (or 20ºC and 25ºC)

  • Bacitracin should be ideally stored between 59°F to 86°F (approximately 15ºC and 30ºC5)

Can antibiotic ointments be used on open wounds?

You should only use over-the-counter antibiotic ointments on wounds that are not open or can easily be closed. If a wound doesn’t stay closed with a bandage or basic dressing, seek medical help.

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