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Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2007 Apr;36(4):321-7. Epub 2007 Jan 16.

Prophylaxis versus pre-emptive treatment for infective and inflammatory complications of surgical third molar removal: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial with sustained release amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (1000/62.5 mg).

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  • 1Service of Internal Medicine, Hospital Mútua de Terrassa, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


The most common complications after surgical extraction of the third mandibular molar are trismus, oedema or swelling, local pain, dysphagia and infection. The aim of this comparative, double-blind, randomized clinical trial was to evaluate the efficacy of two sustained release amoxicillin/clavulanate regimens in the reduction of infection after third molar extractive surgery. A total of 225 patients were randomized into three equal groups: placebo, prophylaxis with single pre-surgical dose of two tablets amoxicillin/clavulanate 1000/62.5 mg, and pre-emptive post-surgery therapy with two tablets amoxicillin/clavulanate 1000/62.5 mg BID for 5 days. A higher rate of infection (P=0.006) was found among patients receiving placebo (16%) than those receiving single-dose prophylaxis (5.3%) or 5-day pre-emptive therapy (2.7%). A relationship between both the duration (13.8% for long versus 7.4% for medium versus 1.6% for short) and difficulty (12.7% with ostectomy versus 3.5% without ostectomy; P=0.011) of surgical procedure and incidence of subsequent infection was also observed. Both prophylactic and therapeutic regimens versus placebo achieved greater reduction of pain after surgery on day 3 (P=0.001). Logistic regression analysis revealed a risk of infection of 24%, 9% and 4% for ostectomy with placebo, prophylaxis and pre-emptive treatment, respectively, whereas it was 7%, 2% and 1% if ostectomy was not performed. Pre-emptive therapy with the oral sustained release amoxicillin/clavulanate formulation reduced the rate of subsequent infection in patients undergoing ostectomy. Prophylaxis was beneficial in simpler procedures and may be indicated in cases where ostectomy is not performed.

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