Antibiotic Treatments for MRSA Skin Abscesses Examined

JUNE 30, 2017
Jennifer Barrett, Assistant Editor
Two common, inexpensive antimicrobials may have greater clinical benefit for patients with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus areus (MRSA) skin abscesses than previously thought, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Researchers examined the treatment of 796 children and adult patients with small, uncomplicated skin abscesses in hospitals across the United States. All patients received standard MRSA treatment. Patients were then divided into 3 groups, each receiving different 10-day oral treatments: clindamycin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX), and a placebo.
Patients treated with clindamycin exhibited an 81.7% cure rate, and patients who received TMP-SMX had an 84.6% cure rate. The placebo group showed a 62.9% cure rate.
The researchers suggested that the findings are demonstrative of previous findings that support the use of TMP-SMX as an effective treatment for MRSA skin abscesses, as well as other reports that have suggested both clindamycin and TMP_SMX are equally beneficial for MRSA.
However, the researchers noted that the adverse effects of both antimicrobials should be taken into consideration. They concluded that although health care providers should consider these risks, they should not overlook these antimicrobials as a potential treatment option.
The study was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
RS Daum, Miller LG, Immergluck L, et al. A placebo-controlled trial of antibiotics for smaller skin abscesses. N Engl J Med. 2017. 376:2545-2555.