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With the emergence of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the United States, visits for skin infections greatly increased. Staphylococci and streptococci are considered predominant causes of wound infections. Clindamycin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) are commonly prescribed, but the efficacy of TMP-SMX has been questioned.
We conducted a randomized, double-blind, superiority trial at 5 US emergency departments. Patients >12 years of age with an uncomplicated wound infection received oral clindamycin 300 mg 4 times daily or TMP-SMX 320 mg/1600 mg twice daily, each for 7 days. We compared the primary outcome, wound infection cure at 7-14 days, and secondary outcomes through 6-8 weeks after treatment, in the per-protocol population.
Subjects had a median age of 40 years (range, 14-76 years); 40.1% of wound specimens grew MRSA, 25.7% methicillin-susceptible S. aureus, and 5.0% streptococci. The wound infection was cured at 7-14 days in 187 of 203 (92.1%) clindamycin-treated and 182 of 198 (91.9%) TMP-SMX-treated subjects (difference, 0.2%; 95% confidence interval [CI], -5.8% to 6.2%; P = not significant). The clindamycin group had a significantly lower rate of recurrence at 7-14 days (1.5% vs 6.6%; difference, -5.1%; 95% CI, -9.4% to -.8%) and through 6-8 weeks following treatment (2.0% vs 7.1%; difference, -5.1%; 95% CI, -9.7% to -.6%). Other secondary outcomes were statistically similar between groups but tended to favor clindamycin. Adverse event rates were similar.
In settings where MRSA is prevalent, clindamycin and TMP-SMX produce similar cure and adverse event rates among patients with an uncomplicated wound infection. Further study evaluating differential effects of antibiotics on recurrent infection may be warranted.