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Topical Antibiotics for Infected Dermatitis: A Review of the Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines

Last updated: March 3, 2017
Project Number: RC0852-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Drug
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report


  1. What is the clinical effectiveness of topical antibiotics for patients with infected dermatitis?
  2. What are the evidence-based guidelines regarding the use of topical antibiotics for the treatment of infected dermatitis?

Key Message

Evidence to date suggests that topical antibiotics provide no additional benefits when added to other topical treatments in both children and adults with clinically infected dermatitis. The long-term or routine use of topical antibiotics for infected dermatitis is not recommended. The combination of intranasal mupirocin and bleach bath may be recommended for patients with moderate to severe dermatitis who have signs of secondary bacterial infection.