RICHARD R. MARPLES, B.M., M.SC.
Clinical testing of topical drugs in skin infections looks simple but is in fact very difficult to carry out and interpret. Two recent reports from Australia (1, 2) on phenanthroline metal chelates demonstrate typical hazards in such trials. The first study, of manganese chelates, is described as a controlled clinical trial but is in fact a comparison between these compounds and either an antibiotic-dequalinium combination (Neodequin) or a chlorinated benzoic acid derivative (Jadit). A placebo group was not included. In the comparison groups, paired lesions were treated simultaneously, a practice notoriously unreliable. Not only are patients likely to apply accidentally
MARPLES RR. Testing Topical Antibacterial Drugs. Ann Intern Med. ;74:1009–1010. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-74-6-1009_2
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1971;74(6):1009-1010.
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