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November 1988

Topical Antibiotics in Dermatology

Author Affiliations

From the Seattle Veterans Administration Center and the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle.

Arch Dermatol. 1988;124(11):1691-1700. doi:10.1001/archderm.1988.01670110051011

• Topical antibiotics are safe and effective in certain conditions, primarily acne, rosacea, and nasal carriage of Staphylococcus aureus. They are useful in impetigo only when it is of limited extent. Their efficacy in other pyodermas is unclear, although mupirocin is probably effective in many cases. In "infected eczema" that does not require systemic therapy they seem to add little to what topical corticosteroids alone achieve. They are ineffective in reducing the incidence of significant infection with indwelling intravenous catheters. They are safe preparations, but extensive use, especially in closed populations, may encourage the emergence of resistant bacteria.

(Arch Dermatol 1988;124:1691-1700)