March 10, 2016

Background: It is well documented that the number of visits to the ED for abscesses is on the rise in the US, with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) being the most common cause of purulent skin and soft-tissue infections. The primary treatment for cutaneous abscesses is incision and drainage (I&D). The prescription of antibiotics after this procedure is not straightforward. On one hand there is increased cost and possibly increased side effects, but on the other hand maybe antibiotics will increase eradication and improve treatment. What is known is that I&D alone will result in resolution in >80% of cases. So this begs the question, should we be empirically prescribing Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole for uncomplicated skin abscesses after I&D?