Skin

Updated 15 February 2013

New antibiotic treats skin infections faster

A short course of treatment with a newer antibiotic works as well against bacterial skin infections as longer treatment with the antibiotic linezolid, a new study finds.

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A short course of treatment with a newer antibiotic called tedizolid works as well against bacterial skin infections as longer treatment with the antibiotic linezolid, a new study finds.

"These infections, which include cellulitis and other wound infections, can be life threatening," noted one expert not connected to the study, Dr Michele Green, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, in New York City. "Because so many of these infections have become antibiotic-resistant, the development of a novel antibiotic which is effective is very important," she added.

The new phase 3 clinical trial included 667 adult patients in North America, Latin America and Europe who received either 200 milligram pills once a day of tedizolid phosphate for six days, or 600 mg of linezolid every 12 hours for 10 days.

The drugs showed similar levels of effectiveness after two to three days and after 11 days, according to the study.

Side effects, mostly mild or moderate, occurred in nearly 41% of patients taking tedizolid and about 43% of those taking linezolid. Rates of serious side effects were low and similar in both groups, according to a journal news release.

The study was led by Dr Philippe Prokocimer, of Trius Therapeutics Inc., San Diego, which makes tedizolid and funded the study.

'A great starting point'

According to Green, the study suggests tedizolid is "a reasonable alternative" to the older drug, especially for infections with MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), "which is a growing problem, due to antibiotic resistance and the continued use of prolonged antibiotics."

Another expert agreed. Dr Scott Gorenstein is an expert in wound healing therapies at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, NY. He said it is important to find shorter-course antibiotic therapies to help reduce antibiotic resistance and the risk for complications.

Gorenstein, who is also clinical director of the hospital's Hyperbaric Medicine Program, called the study "a great starting point" for further research to confirm these findings.

More information

MedlinePlus has more about skin infections.

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Dr Suretha Kannenberg holds a degree in Medicine and a Masters in Dermatology from the University of Stellenbosch. She is employed as a consultant dermatologist by Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, where she is involved in clinical duties and the training of medical students and dermatology residents. Her areas of interest and research include vitiligo, eczema and acne. She also performs limited private practice work in the Northern suburbs of Cape Town in general and cosmetic dermatology.

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