Oral doxycycline for the treatment of chronic leg ulceration
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This pilot study investigated oral doxycycline as an adjunct to compression therapy for non-healing venous leg ulcers. Ten patients received doxycycline 20 mg twice daily (low-dose doxycycline) and ten patients received doxycycline 100 mg twice daily (high-dose doxycycline). Utilising a pre-test post-test study design, ulcer area was measured and wound fluid was collected before and after 4 weeks of treatment. In the high-dose doxycycline group, the reduction in median ulcer area was 48% (p = 0.1) and there was a significant reduction in wound fluid total matrix metalloprotease-1 (p = 0.02). These effects were not observed with low-dose doxycycline. There were no significant changes in wound fluid tumour necrosis factor-α or quantitative bacteriology following treatment with low-dose or high-dose doxycycline. There was no significant relationship between change in ulcer area and matrix metalloprotease-1, -8 or -9 activities in wound fluid at the end of treatment. Median wound fluid doxycycline concentrations after 4 weeks of treatment were 0.2 mg/L(0.45 lM) and 2.3 mg/L (5.18 lM) [DOSAGE ERROR CORRECTED] in the low-dose and high-dose groups, respectively, which are lower than that previously shown to inhibit matrix metalloproteases and tumour necrosis factor-α. Our study suggests that doxycycline 100 mg twice daily may improve the healing rate of recalcitrant leg ulcers, however the mechanism remains unclear.
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