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.”