Journal Article

Meta-Analysis of Trials Evaluating Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy for Skin and Soft Tissue Infections

Rebecca J. McClaine, Thomas L. Husted, Renee S. Hebbeler-Clark and Joseph S. Solomkin

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 50, issue 8, pages 1120-1126
Published in print April 2010 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online April 2010 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/651264
Meta-Analysis of Trials Evaluating Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy for Skin and Soft Tissue Infections

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Background. Many trials have been carried out to determine the effectiveness of antimicrobial agents in treating skin and soft tissue infections. The results of these studies are often utilized to make determinations about the use of these antimicrobials against other types of infections. Despite the importance of these trials in determining clinical care, we hypothesized that many of these studies failed to include a variety of infections of significant enough severity to effectively draw objective conclusions about antimicrobial efficacy.

Methods. We conducted a modified PubMed search to identify studies of antimicrobial agents in treating soft tissue infections that were published from 1998 through 2008. We then evaluated these trials for specific recommended study criteria, which were based on published US Food and Drug Administration guidelines for the conduct of trials of antimicrobials for soft tissue infection.

Results. Seventeen studies were identified for inclusion in the trial. Upon review, only 30% of trials required both local and systemic signs of infection for inclusion in the trial. One trial stratified results on the basis of operative intervention, less than half reported patient comorbidities, and only 53% provided a specific definition for “cure.”

Conclusions. Our meta-analysis of current trials evaluating antimicrobial therapy for skin and soft tissue infections revealed substantial shortcomings in the design of most of these trials. These data provide evidence for the importance of designing specialist panels to objectively evaluate studies and photographs of included infections to ensure that conclusions drawn from these trials concerning clinical practice are justified.

Journal Article.  3253 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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