Onychomycosis is a fungal infection, and, as such, one of the goals of treatment should be eradication of the infective agent. Despite this, in contrast to dermatologists, many podiatric physicians do not include antifungals in their onychomycosis treatment plans. Before initiating treatment, confirmation of mycologic status via laboratory testing (eg, microscopy with potassium hydroxide preparation, histopathology with periodic acid–Schiff staining, fungal culture, and polymerase chain reaction) is important; however, more podiatric physicians rely solely on clinical signs than do dermatologists. These dissimilarities may be due, in part, to differences between specialties in training, reimbursement patterns, or practice orientation, and to explore these differences further, a joint podiatric medicine–dermatology roundtable was convened. In addition, treatment options have been limited owing to safety concerns with available oral antifungals and relatively low efficacy with previously available topical treatments. Recently approved topical treatments—efinaconzole and tavaborole—offer additional options for patients with mild-to-moderate disease. Debridement alone has no effect on mycologic status, and it is recommended that it be used in combination with an oral or topical antifungal. There is little to no clinical evidence to support the use of lasers or over-the-counter treatments for onychomycosis. After a patient has achieved cure (absence of clinical signs or absence of fungus with minimal clinical signs), lifestyle and hygiene measures, prophylactic/maintenance treatment, and proactive treatment for tinea pedis, including in family members, may help maintain this status.
The follow-up results of a 9-month observational study of 150 onychomycosis patients treated with a variety of mechanical, topical, and oral therapies by podiatric physicians and dermatologists are presented. Changes from baseline in toenail condition and patient satisfaction were assessed at 4- and 9-month follow-up. At 9 months, patients who had received oral therapy reported significantly fewer onychomycosis-related problems in social situations, including embarrassment or self-consciousness about the appearance of nails, avoidance of contact by others, being perceived as unclean or untidy, and the desire to keep their nails concealed. Patient-reported satisfaction with the treatment program was significantly higher for those receiving oral therapy than for those receiving nonoral therapy. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 91(10): 521-527, 2001)
Foot infections are a common and serious problem in persons with diabetes. Diabetic foot infections (DFIs) typically begin in a wound, most often a neuropathic ulceration. While all wounds are colonized with microorganisms, the presence of infection is defined by ≥2 classic findings of inflammation or purulence. Infections are then classified into mild (superficial and limited in size and depth), moderate (deeper or more extensive), or severe (accompanied by systemic signs or metabolic perturbations). This classification system, along with a vascular assessment, helps determine which patients should be hospitalized, which may require special imaging procedures or surgical interventions, and which will require amputation. Most DFIs are polymicrobial, with aerobic gram-positive cocci (GPC), and especially staphylococci, the most common causative organisms. Aerobic gram-negative bacilli are frequently copathogens in infections that are chronic or follow antibiotic treatment, and obligate anaerobes may be copathogens in ischemic or necrotic wounds.
Wounds without evidence of soft tissue or bone infection do not require antibiotic therapy. For infected wounds, obtain a post-debridement specimen (preferably of tissue) for aerobic and anaerobic culture. Empiric antibiotic therapy can be narrowly targeted at GPC in many acutely infected patients, but those at risk for infection with antibiotic-resistant organisms or with chronic, previously treated, or severe infections usually require broader spectrum regimens. Imaging is helpful in most DFIs; plain radiographs may be sufficient, but magnetic resonance imaging is far more sensitive and specific. Osteomyelitis occurs in many diabetic patients with a foot wound and can be difficult to diagnose (optimally defined by bone culture and histology) and treat (often requiring surgical debridement or resection, and/or prolonged antibiotic therapy). Most DFIs require some surgical intervention, ranging from minor (debridement) to major (resection, amputation). Wounds must also be properly dressed and off-loaded of pressure, and patients need regular follow-up. An ischemic foot may require revascularization, and some nonresponding patients may benefit from selected adjunctive measures. Employing multidisciplinary foot teams improves outcomes. Clinicians and healthcare organizations should attempt to monitor, and thereby improve, their outcomes and processes in caring for DFIs.
Diabetic foot infection (DFI) is a serious, difficult-to-treat infection, especially when caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Vancomycin has been the standard treatment for MRSA infection, but lower response rates in MRSA skin infections have been reported. This analysis assessed the outcome and safety of daptomycin therapy in patients with a DFI caused by MRSA.
Using the Cubicin Outcomes Registry and Experience and the European Cubicin Outcomes Registry and Experience (2006–2009), 79 patients with MRSA DFI were identified and included in this analysis.
In the 74 evaluable patients, daptomycin was administered at a median dose of 4.8 mg/kg primarily every 24 hours (85.1%) and for a median of 15.0 days. Overall, 77.0% of the patients (57 of 74) received initial therapy with activity against MRSA; however, of patients receiving daptomycin as second-line therapy (n = 31), only 45.2% were treated with an antibiotic agent active against MRSA. The overall clinical success and treatment failure rates were 89.2% and 10.8%, respectively. Success with daptomycin therapy was higher in patients who had surgery and in those whose initial therapy was daptomycin. Eleven patients had 14 adverse events, two of which were possibly related to daptomycin use and led to discontinuation.
In a large real-world cohort of patients with MRSA DFI, daptomycin therapy was shown to be generally well tolerated and effective. The use of an anti-MRSA antibiotic agent should be considered when implementing first-line antibiotic drug therapy for DFI in countries where MRSA is common to avoid inappropriate empirical treatment and potential negative effects on outcomes.