Systematic review of antimicrobial treatments for diabetic foot ulcers

E.A. Nelson, S. O'Meara, S. Golder, J. Dalton, D. Craig, C. Iglesias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background
Foot ulcers in diabetes are associated with increased mortality, illness and reduced quality of life. Ulcer infection impairs healing and antimicrobial interventions may cure infection, aid healing and reduce amputation rates.

Objectives
To systematically review the evidence for antimicrobial interventions for foot ulcers in diabetes.

Methods
We searched 16 databases, 11 Internet sites, three books, conference proceedings, a journal and bibliographies in November 2002. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or controlled clinical trials (CCTs).

Results
Twenty-three studies investigated the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness of antimicrobial agents: intravenous antibiotics (n = 8); oral antibiotics (n = 5); topical antimicrobials (n = 4); subcutaneous granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) (n = 4); Ayurvedic preparations (n = 1): and sugar vs. antibiotics vs. standard care (n = 1). The trials were small and too dissimilar to be pooled. There is no strong evidence for any particular antimicrobial agent for the prevention of amputation, resolution of infection, or ulcer healing. Pexiganan cream may be as effective as oral ofloxacin for resolution of infection. Ampicillin and sulbactam cost less than imipenem/cilastatin, G-CSF cost less than standard care and cadexomer iodine dressings may cost less than daily dressings.

Conclusions
The evidence is too weak to recommend any particular antimicrobial agent. Large studies are needed of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of antimicrobial interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-359
Number of pages12
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006

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Keywords

  • antimicrobials
  • diabetic foot ulcer
  • infection
  • systematic review

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