Bacitracin vs Neosporin

bacitracin ointment
Neosporin ointment

Bacitracin and Neosporin are two popular brands in the US markets for preventing small cuts and scrapes infection.

However, few people know their differences, and many think that Bacitracin is the same as Neosporin.

As a professional pharmaceutical-grade bacitracin API supplier in China, we must share our knowledge about the differences between these two formulations so you won’t have any puzzles.

Below we have listed the main differences between these two and we hope it helps:

#1 Number of active ingredients

Bacitracin Ointment Contains:

Active Ingredients:

Bacitracin 500 units.

Inactive Ingredients:

light mineral oil, white petrolatum.

Neosporin Ointment Contains:

Active ingredients:

Bacitracin Zinc (400 units)

Neomycin Sulfate (3.5 mg)

Polymyxin B sulfate (5,000 units)


Petrolatum, Gossypium Herbaceum (Cotton) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (olive) Fruit Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Sodium Pyruvate, Tocopheryl Acetate

There are 3 active pharmaceutical ingredients in Neosporin: neomycin sulfate, bacitracin zinc, and polymyxin b sulfate.

Please note that it is Bacitracin Zinc used in Neosporin instead of Bacitracin.

Zinc bacitracin is a complex of bacitracin and zinc salt, zinc salt makes that complex more stable when exposed to air and moisture.

While bacitracin ointment only contains 1 active ingredient, that is bacitracin API.

#2 Chances of allergy

neomycin allergies
Neomycin Sulfate Allergies

More people are allergic to Neosporin while having no problem with bacitracin ointment.

As we can see from the ingredients above, Neosporin contains over 9 ingredients (active and inactive), while bacitracin ointment (API and excipients) has only 3.

Generally speaking, neomycin sulfate is more prone to cause allergies. According to related research, 7% to 13% of the patients are allergic to neomycin.

People allergic to neomycin sulfate and polymyxin b sulfate can only apply bacitracin ointment for another try.

Bacitracin has fewer allergic incidents.

If you are already allergic to bacitracin, you are more likely to be allergic to Neosporin too, that’s for sure.

#3 Bacteria Coverages

bacteria coverage of bacitracin and neosporin

Neosporin is a combination of antibiotics, so it has a wider bacteria-killing range and a better infection-preventing effect than bacitracin.

Bacitracin has bactericidal activity against Gram-positive cocci and bacilli, such as Streptococcus sp., Staphylococcus sp., and C. difficile, bacitracin zinc within Neosporine shares this bacterial range.

Polymyxin b sulfate kills multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacteria, especially those caused by Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Acinetobacter baumannii.

As for neomycin sulfate, it is effective against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus.

#4 Production processes

Bacitracin vs neosporin ointments compounding process

Because bacitracin ointment only contains one active ingredient, its production process is relatively easier. As we are not the ointment manufacturer, we just take a wild but logical guess :).

Trust me, mixing all the 3 ingredients in Neosporin evenly is not an easy job. To mix them well, all ingredients should be micronized before they are mixed and stirred with excipients.

It takes longer to blend and the production process is more complicated.e

#5 Unit Prices

As Neosporin is a famous brand, it costs more than bacitracin ointment in many markets.

Even when you compare Neosporin with Triple Antibiotics containing the same active ingredients as Neosporin, it still costs more.

Above are the main differences between Bacitracin and Neosporin, in case you have different ideas, welcome to comment below.


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