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        • » A Randomised Controlled Trial of Alternative Treatments to Intramuscular Penicillin for Impetigo in Aboriginal Children

A Randomised Controlled Trial of Alternative Treatments to Intramuscular Penicillin for Impetigo in Aboriginal Children



This project was developed by Menzies School of Health Research to determine if simple, cheap regimens of oral antibiotics will lead to equivalent cure rates of impetigo (skin sores) to those achieved with penicillin injections. The project also examined the relative contribution of Staphylococcus aureus to the development of impetigo.

The objectives of the project were to determine whether children, aged between 12 weeks to less than 13 years, who have been diagnosed with mild or severe impetigo have non-inferior cure rates at day seven when treated with oral trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole compared to those treated with a single dose of intramuscular benzathine penicillin G (the current standard treatment).

508 children with impetigo (skin sores) were involved in the randomised controlled trial (RCT), based in the Northern Territory (NT).

The research found that short courses of oral antibiotics work just as well as the standard treatment with penicillin injections. This will be beneficial for children in remote communities needing treatment for their sores, as the oral antibiotic regimen is simple, short, tastes good and is pain-free.

Abstract adapted from Menzies School of Health Research


Menzies School of Health Research
John Mathews Building
Royal Darwin Hospital Campus
Rocklands Drive
Casuarina NT 0810
Ph: (08) 8946 8600 (Reception)
Fax:  (08) 8946 8464

Related publications

Bowen AC, Tong SYC, Andrews RM, O'Meara IM, McDonald MI, Chatfield MD, Currie BJ, Carapetis JR (2014)

Short-course oral co-trimoxazole versus intramuscular benzathine benzylpenicillin for impetigo in a highly endemic region: an open-label, randomised, controlled, non-inferiority trial.

The Lancet; 384(9960): 2132–2140

Tong SYC, Andrews RM, Kearns T, Gundjirryirr R, McDonald MI, Currie BJ, Carapetis JR (2010)

Trimethopim-sulfamethoxazole compared with benzathine penicillin for treatment of impetigo in Aboriginal children: A pilot randomised controlled trial.

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health; 46(3): 131-133


Last updated: 5 April 2017
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