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Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole Therapy Reduces Failure and Recurrence in Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Skin Abscesses after Surgical Drainage

Published:November 11, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.10.044

      Objective

      To determine whether a 3-day vs 10-day course of antibiotics after surgical drainage of skin abscesses is associated with different failure and recurrence rates.

      Study design

      Patients age 3 months to 17 years seeking care at a pediatric emergency department with an uncomplicated skin abscess that required surgical drainage were randomized to receive 3 or 10 days of oral trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole therapy. Patients were evaluated 10-14 days later to assess clinical outcome. Patients were followed for 6 months to determine the cumulative rate of recurrent skin infections.

      Results

      Among the 249 patients who were enrolled, 87% of wound cultures grew Staphylococcus aureus (S aureus) (55% methicillin-resistant S aureus [MRSA], 32% methicillin-sensitive S aureus), 11% other organisms, and 2% no growth. Thirteen patients experienced treatment failure. Among all patients, no significant difference in failure rates between the 3- and 10-day treatment groups was found. After we stratified patients by the infecting organism, only patients with MRSA infection were more likely to experience treatment failure in the 3-day group than the 10-day group (P = .03, rate difference 10.1%, 95% CI 2.1%-18.2%) Recurrent infection within 1 month of surgical drainage was more likely in patients infected with MRSA who received 3 days of antibiotics. (P = .046, rate difference 10.3%, 95% CI 0.8%-19.9%).

      Conclusion

      Patients with MRSA skin abscesses are more likely to experience treatment failure and recurrent skin infection if given 3 rather than 10 days of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole after surgical drainage.

      Trial registration

      CA (Community-associated), ED (Emergency department), MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), MSSA (Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus), SSTI (Skin and soft-tissue infection), TMP-SMX (Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole)
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