New Topical Treatment

Impetigo is a common skin infection that tends to hit children, people who live in close quarters, and those who engage in contact sports. The contagious condition is the third most prevalent skin infection in children after eczema and warts but can also attack the skin of those who have weakened immune systems. Impetigo tends to recur, and if left untreated, may spread from isolated areas of the face to parts of the body. In the worst case scenarios, impetigo may lead to boils, abscesses, and toxic shock.

Local Infections 

For the first time in ten years, a new treatment for impetigo has been launched in the United Kingdom. ALTARGO (retapamulin ointment, 1%) is a topical antibiotic that has been found to be effective against local impetigo infections.

ALTARGO is fast and efficient and is prescribed as a 5-day course of treatment. The ointment has been found to be every bit as effective as a seven-day course of Fucidin (fucidic acid), which until now has been the topical antibiotic therapy of choice for treating impetigo. As opposed to Fucidin, which must be applied thrice daily, ALTARGO need only be applied twice a day, which is a convenience for busy, working parents who may find it difficult to administer a mid-day dose.

Another Option

General practitioner Dr. Jonathan Geldard, of Essex, who has in interest in dermatology, said that he sees some five patients with impetigo every month. "In an area where current treatment options are limited, it's great to finally have another option for my patients, especially one that's as efficacious with a shorter dosing regime. Impetigo is an unsightly, often embarrassing condition and the sooner the infection is cleared the better."

ALTARGO employs a new type of antibacterial called pleuromutilin. This class of antibacterial works four ways against invading bacteria so that it has a decreased tendency to cause cross-resistance with other common antibacterial agents. More and more patients in the UK are developing a resistance to Fucidin. Dermatological patients have been seen to have the highest levels of resistance, up to 50%. ALTARGO offers an alternative for patients who have proven resistant to Fucidin, which may now be kept in reserve for more systemic uses, such as in serious infections like Staphylococcal bone infections. 

Consultant and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Dermatology at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, Dr Robin Graham-Brown commented, "Around one in three patients become resistant to topical antibiotics so we continually have to look for alternative treatments. The availability of a new topical antibiotic is therefore going to be greatly welcomed in the medical community."