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.