According to the conventional procedure followed to treat skin infections such as cellulitis, antibiotics (and in most cases, penicillin) have always been the preferred choice of therapy. A recent study conducted by the Henry Ford Hospital shows that this might not be the best course of action as the option of using the antibiotic Vancomycin will work suitably as a first line of defense instead of the usual course of antibiotics that is offered to patients with cellulitis.

What this study sought to straighten out the ambiguity that medical practice guidelines had not clarified so far about whether penicillin, cephalosporins or vancomycin was the preferred choice for patients with cellulitis.

However, the primary reason for this study was due to the fact that doctors were reporting an unprecedented increase in MRSA skin and soft tissue infections based on admitted patients, and this led to researchers studying how patients with cellulitis responded to both type of antibiotics. And the fact that MRSA strains have been proven to develop a resistance to penicillin but not to Vancomycin was also another factor that led to this study.

The study which was conducted between December 2005 and October 2008 tested 226 patients by treating them intravenously with Vancomycin while 199 patients were also treated intravenously with B-lactam antibiotics.

In comparing the patient’s response to treatments, it was found that those treated with Vancomycin were discharged one day earlier than patients in the other control group suggesting that Vancomycin is effective as a treatment for cellulitis than antibiotics such as penicillin.

The study’s lead author, Hiren Pokharna, M.D., an Infectious Diseases fellow at Henry Ford Hospital, the findings has confirmed the results of this study (and clarified the existing ambiguity) by saying, "We believe Vancomycin is the better treatment option for managing patients hospitalized with cellulitis."

This study has been presented on October 23, 2010 at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America that is being held in Vancouver between the dates of October 21-24, 2010.