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J Clin Periodontol. 2001 Apr;28(4):296-305.

Amoxicillin plus metronidazole in the treatment of adult periodontitis patients. A double-blind placebo-controlled study.

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Department of Periodontology, Academic Centre for Dentistry, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



The aim of this double-blind, parallel study was to evaluate the adjunctive effects of systemically administered amoxicillin and metronidazole in a group of adult periodontitis patients who also received supra- and subgingival debridement.


49 patients with a diagnosis of generalised severe periodontitis participated in the study. Random assignment resulted in 26 patients in the placebo (P) group with a mean age of 40 years and 23 patients in the test (T) group which had a mean age of 45 years. Clinical measurements and microbiological assessments were taken at baseline and 3 months after completion of initial periodontal therapy with additional placebo or antibiotic treatment. Patients received coded study medication of either 375 mg amoxicillin in combination with 250 mg metronidazole or identical placebo tablets, every 8 hours for the following 7 days.


At baseline, no statistically significant differences between groups were found for any of the clinical parameters. Except for the plaque, there was a significantly larger change in the bleeding, probing pocket depth (PPD) and clinical attachment level (CAL) in the T-group as compared to the P-group after therapy. The greatest reduction in PPD was found at sites with initial PPD of > or = 7 mm, 2.5 mm in the P-group and 3.2 mm in the T-group. The improvement in CAL was most pronounced in the PPD category > or = 7 mm and amounted to 1.5 mm and 2.0 mm in the P- and T-groups, respectively. No significant decrease was found in the number of patients positive for any of the test species in the P-group. The number of patients positive for Porphyromonas gingivalis, Bacteroides forsythus and Prevotella intermedia in the T-group showed a significant decrease. After therapy there was a significant difference between the P- and the T- group in the remaining number of patients positive for P. gingivalis, B. forsythus and Peptostreptococcus micros. 4 subgroups were created on the basis of the initial microbiological status for P. gingivalis positive (Pg-pos) and negative patients (Pg-neg) in the P- and the T-groups. The difference in reduction of PPD between Pg-pos and Pg-neg patients was particularly evident with respect to the changes in % of sites with a probing pocket depth > or = 5 mm. This % decreased from 45% at baseline to 23% after treatment in the Pg-pos placebo subgroup and decreased from 46% to 11% in the Pg-pos test subgroup (p < or = 0.005). In contrast, the changes in the proportions of sites with a probing pocket depth > or = 5 mm in the Pg-neg placebo and Pg-neg test subgroup were similar, from 43% at baseline to 18% after treatment versus 40% to 12% respectively.


This study has shown that systemic usage of metronidazole and amoxicillin, when used in conjunction with initial periodontal treatment in adult periodontitis patients, achieves significantly better clinical and microbiological results than initial periodontal treatment alone. Moreover, this research suggests that especially patients diagnosed with P. gingivalis benefit from antibiotic treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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