Adding Antibiotics to Incision-and-Drainage of Small Skin Abscesses Helps — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
June 29, 2017

Adding Antibiotics to Incision-and-Drainage of Small Skin Abscesses Helps

By Joe Elia

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD

In small, uncomplicated skin abscesses, the addition of antibiotics to usual treatment improves short-term outcomes, a New England Journal of Medicine study finds.

In a multicenter trial, researchers randomized almost 800 adults and children with single skin abscesses to one of three regimens after incision and drainage: clindamycin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX), or placebo. Treatments were prescribed for 10 days, after which cure rates were assessed.

Both active drugs produced higher cure rates than placebo (roughly 80% for the drugs, versus 70% for placebo). Among children, clindamycin was more effective than TMP-SMX.

Citing recent guidelines, the authors say their findings "call into question the perception ... that cure rates do not improve with the addition of systemic antibiotic treatment after incision and drainage."

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