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Cornea and External Disease

Topical Antibiotics Improve Clinical Cure Rates for Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Posted on January 23, 2019

Administering topical antibiotics to patients with bacterial conjunctivitis results in both clinical and microbiological cure, according to an updated Cochrane review of 11 randomized, placebo-controlled trials involving nearly 3,700 individuals.

Investigators looked at trials that diagnosed bacterial conjunctivitis based on either clinical or microbiological findings. They examined clinical and microbiological cure rates — specifically, absence of symptoms or microbiological eradication. Among the findings:

  • An improved early clinical cure rate of 40% was observed in those treated with antibiotics; superior microbiological cure was also observed.
  • Antibiotics continued to produce benefit at days 6 to 10.
  • The absolute risk differences for early and late clinical cure were 11% and 9%, respectively.
  • Placebo patients experienced a 30% cure rate by day 5, and 41% by days 6 to 10.
  • No serious outcomes occurred in either group.

Kowalsky D, Wolfson A. Topical Antibiotics for Clinical and Microbiological Cure of Bacterial Conjunctivitis. [Published online ahead of print November 12, 2018]. Acad Emerg Med. doi: 10.1111/acem.13663.

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