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Tretinoin Helps Heal Foot Ulcers in Diabetics

Topical application is well tolerated by diabetics

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Topical application of tretinoin helps to heal foot ulcers in people with diabetes, according to a study in the November issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Wynnis L. Tom, M.D., of the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues sought to determine the safety and efficacy of short-term administration of topical tretinoin on foot ulcers in diabetic patients at a Veterans Affairs medical center outpatient clinic.

The researchers studied 24 diabetics with foot ulcers, but with no evidence of peripheral arterial disease or infection. The patients were randomized to four weeks of daily treatment with either topical 0.05% tretinoin solution (Retin-A) or placebo saline solution. Wound size and appearance were assessed every two weeks for 16 weeks.

At the end of 16 weeks, two of 11 ulcers in the control group and six of 13 in the tretinoin treatment group healed completely. Applying tretinoin significantly reduced the area and depth of ulcers compared with the placebo, the researchers found. The main adverse effects were mild pain at the site of the ulcer.

"Short-contact application of topical tretinoin improved the healing of foot ulcers in patients with diabetes," the authors write. "The tretinoin therapy was generally well tolerated, without serious local or systemic adverse effects."

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