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Topical Metronidazole for Odor Control in Pressure Ulcers

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There are many remedies that have been recommended for the treatment of foul odor associated with pressure ulcers. This article seeks to review the literature surrounding the use of metronidazole as a safe and effective solution to an oftentimes stubborn and frustrating problem. Other tools used to control odor include bleach-based solutions and charcoal dressings. Metronidazole, with its antianaerobic properties, appears to have a useful role in therapy when applied topically to a pressure ulcer. Commercially available products include 0.75% and 1% creams, gels, lotions, and intravenous solutions. Of the 59 cases viewed throughout several publications, 56 reported nearly complete odor resolution in two to seven days when metronidazole was applied to the wound two or three times daily. Virtually no systemic adverse events have been reported in the literature, despite the risk for systemic absorption. A need remains to monitor for toxicities such as nausea, gastrointestinal distress, and neural toxicities from long-term use.
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Keywords: METRONIDAZOLE; ODOR; PRESSURE ULCERS

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: West Virginia, University School of Pharmacy, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA

Publication date: 2015-09-01

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  • The Consultant Pharmacist® is the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. It is dedicated exclusively to the medication needs of the elderly in all settings, including adult day care, ambulatory care, assisted living, community, hospice, and nursing facilities. This award-winning journal is a member benefit of ASCP. Individuals who are not members and wish to receive The Consultant Pharmacist® will want to consider joining ASCP.
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