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Chloramphenicol not effective against wound infection

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The common practice of applying chloramphenicol to sutured wounds as prophylaxis against wound infections is not clinically effective, according to Australian researchers.

They set out to determine the efficacy of a single application of topical chloramphenicol ointment in preventing infection in 488 patients who had undergone minor dermatology surgery. A control group received paraffin ointment.

The absolute reduction in infection rate between the intervention and control group was 4.4%, which was not clinically significant. The number of patients needed to be treated with the intervention to avoid one infection would be 23, the researchers added online in the BMJ.

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