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Cutis. 2005 Mar;75(3):177-80.

Rapid resolution of cellulitis in patients managed with combination antibiotic and anti-inflammatory therapy.

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  • 1University of Missouri School of Medicine, Kansas City, USA.


There is some evidence to suggest that host inflammatory response has some effect on the clinical manifestations of cellulitis. The objective of this pilot study was to investigate whether the addition of oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAI) therapy to antibiotic treatment hastens resolution of cellulitis-related inflammation. Patients presenting in the emergency department with signs and symptoms of class II cellulitis were assigned to receive treatment with either antibiotic therapy alone (intravenous, supplemented with oral cephalexin or an equivalent) for 10 days (n = 33) or antibiotic therapy for 10 days plus an oral anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen 400 mg every 6 hours) for 5 days (n = 31). Patients were discharged as soon as possible to complete their therapy on an outpatient basis. The addition of an oral anti-inflammatory agent significantly (P < .05) shortened the time to regression of inflammation and complete resolution of cellulitis. Twenty-four of 29 evaluable patients (82.8%) who received supplemental anti-inflammatory treatment showed regression of inflammation within 1 to 2 days compared with only 3 of 33 patients (9.1%) treated without an anti-inflammatory in the same time frame. All patients receiving adjunctive anti-inflammatory treatment experienced complete resolution of cellulitis in 4 to 5 days or less, while 24.2% (8/33) of patients treated with antibiotic alone required 6 to 7 days, and 6.1% (2/33) required 7 days or more (P < .05). This small preliminary study provides some promising data, suggesting that the supplemental use of anti-inflammatory therapy may hasten the time to regression of inflammation and complete resolution of cellulitis.

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