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Int J Surg. 2011;9(4):335-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijsu.2011.02.007. Epub 2011 Feb 19.

The use of topical phenytoin for healing of chronic venous ulcerations.

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Department of General Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University, Round Road, Ismailia 41522, Egypt.



Many topical agents have been used for promotion of healing of chronic venous ulcers. One such agent that has been tried is phenytoin. The effect of phenytoin on cutaneous healing has been suggested. This study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of topical phenytoin in healing of venous ulcerations.


One hundred and four patients with chronic venous ulcers were recruited in this study. They were divided into study group and control group. The study group was 54 patients while control group was 50 patients. Patients in the study group were subjected to dressing of their ulcers with topical phenytoin once daily while patients in the control group were subjected to dressing with normal saline. All patients were followed up for eight weeks and assessed for their ulcer status and recorded as: complete healing, partial healing, no improvement or worsening of the condition.


By the end of the eight weeks, complete healing was evident in 35/54 of the patients (64.8%) in the study group and 26/50 of the patients (52%) in the control group. It was statistically significant (p = .04). The rate of reduction in the mean surface area of the ulcers was faster in the study group than control group. Minor side effects were reported among 4 patients (7.4%) of the study group in the form of burning sensation.


Topical phenytoin can be used to enhance healing of chronic venous ulcers in conjunction with the established treatment. It has favorable results and tolerable local side effects.

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