Cochrane Summaries

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Antibiotic drugs for treating skin and soft tissue infections

Yue J, Dong B, Yang M, Chen X, Wu T, Liu GJ
Published Online: 
12 July 2013

Skin and soft tissue infections such as impetigo, abscesses, ulcers, and surgical site infections are common infections of the skin. For serious skin and soft tissue infections involving the deeper tissues, the death rate and treatment costs are high. Linezolid and vancomycin are antibiotics that are effective in treating skin and soft tissue infections, particularly infections caused by bacteria that have developed resistance to some antibiotics. This review identified nine RCTs, with a total of 3144 participants, and compared treatment with linezolid against treatment with vancomycin for skin and soft tissue infections. Linezolid was found to be more effective than vancomycin for treating these infections. There were fewer skin complications in the group that were treated with linezolid. There were no differences between the two groups in the number of reported deaths, and those treated with linezolid had shorter lengths of hospital stay than those treated with vancomycin. The daily cost of outpatient therapy was less with oral linezolid than with intravenous vancomycin, although for inpatient treatment, linezolid was more expensive than vancomycin. Well-designed trials will be required in future to confirm these results, as the trials from which these conclusions were drawn were of poor methodological quality, at high risk of bias, and were funded by the pharmaceutical company that makes linezolid.

This record should be cited as: 
Yue J, Dong B, Yang M, Chen X, Wu T, Liu GJ. Linezolid versus vancomycin for skin and soft tissue infections. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD008056. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008056.pub2
Assessed as up to date: 
9 May 2013