From the Journals

Most epidermolysis bullosa patients turn to topical antimicrobials



Most patients with epidermolysis bullosa who use topical products choose antimicrobials, according to data from a survey of 202 children and adults.

Management of epidermolysis bullosa (EB) involves a combination of skin protection and infection management, but patient home care practices have not been well studied, wrote Leila Shayegan of Columbia University, New York, and colleagues.

In a study published in Pediatric Dermatology, the researchers surveyed 202 patients who were enrolled in the Epidermolysis Bullosa Clinical Characterization and Outcomes Database during 2017. The patients ranged in age from 1 month to 62 years with an average age of 11 years; 52% were female. The patients represented a range of EB subtypes, including 130 patients with dystrophic EB, 51 patients with EB simplex, 21 with junctional EB, and 3 patients each with Kindler syndrome and unspecified subtypes.

Overall, most of the patients reported cleaning their skin either every day (37%) or every other day (32%). Of the 188 patients who reported using topical products on their wounds, 131 (70%) said they used at least one antimicrobial product, while 125 patients (66%) reported using at least one emollient; 32 (17%) used emollients only, and 21(11%) reported no use of topical products.

The most popular topical antibiotics were mupirocin (31%) and bacitracin (31%). In addition, 14% of respondents used silver-containing products, and 16% used medical-grade honey. Roughly half (51%) of patients who reported use of at least one antimicrobial product used two or more different antimicrobial products.

A total of 38% of patients used only water for cleansing. Of the 131 patients who reported using additives in their cleansing water, 57% added salt, 54% added bleach, 27% added vinegar, and 26% reported “other” additive use, which could include Epsom salt, baking soda, oatmeal, or essential oils, the researchers said. The concentrations of these additives ranged from barely effective 0.002% sodium hypochlorite and 0.002% acetic acid solutions to potentially cytotoxic solutions of 0.09% sodium hypochlorite and 0.156% acetic acid.

“Although the survey was not designed to correlate skin care practices with wound culture results and resistance patterns, widespread use of topical antimicrobials described among EB patients highlights the need for increased emphasis on antibiotic stewardship,” the researchers noted. They added that health care providers should educate patients and families not only about mindful use of antibiotics, but also appropriate concentrations of cleansing additives.

“Optimizing EB patient home skin care routines, along with future longitudinal studies on the impact of EB skin care interventions on microbial resistance patterns, wound healing and [squamous cell carcinoma] risk are necessary to improve outcomes for patients with EB,” they emphasized.

The Epidermolysis Bullosa Clinical Characterization and Outcomes Database used in the study is funded by the Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Partnership and the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation. Ms. Shayegan had no financial conflicts to disclose. Several coauthors disclosed relationships with multiple companies including Abeona Therapeutics, Castle Creek Pharmaceuticals, Fibrocell Science, ProQR, and Scioderm.

SOURCE: Shayegan L et al. Pediatr Dermatol. 2020. doi: 10.1111/pde.14102.

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