The Effects of Topically Applied Nitrofurazone and Rifamycin on Wound Healing

Mutlu Saydam, MD; Sarper Yilmaz, MD; Ergin Seven, MD; Ali Riza Erçöçen, MD; Serkan Saydam, PhD; Hafize Sezer, PhD


Wounds. 2006;18(3):71-76. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Topical application of a combination of nitrofurazone and rifamycin in contaminated wounds is widely used in Turkey with considerable success. Although nitrofurazone is generally abandoned in European countries and the United States, rifamycin is used for topical wound care in many European countries. However, the experimental data is lacking. In this study, full-thickness circular dorsal wounds were created in rats. Three experimental and 2 control groups were constructed. After creation of the defects, the wounds were treated with topical nitrofurazone in the first experimental group, topical rifamycin in the second experimental group, and a combination of topical nitrofurazone and rifamycin in the third experimental group. In the first control group, the wounds were treated with a combination of bacitracin and neomycin, and in the second control group, the wounds were treated with daily cleansing using 0.9% NaCl. The progression of wound healing was measured and documented using photography and millimetric scales. The results demonstrated that the nitrofurazone-treated wound group had significantly delayed full-thickness wound healing. No significant differences were observed among the other groups. The interesting finding is that the combination of nitrofurazone and rifamycin abolished the delayed healing effect observed in the nitrofurazone-treated group.


Topical antibiotics have been used in wound care for many years. A number of reports have indicated the effectiveness of topical antibiotics for prevention of infection in surgical and traumatic wounds.[1,2,3] However, many authors do not prefer the use of topical antibiotics because of the risk of development of resistance and possibility of hypersensitivity reactions.[1,4] Nitrofurazone- and rifamycin-absorbed gauze dressing is commonly used in Turkey, but the literature and data supporting this mode of therapy is lacking. Although some reports in the literature discuss the topical use of rifamycin in wounds,[5] sufficient data is not available. The authors aimed to determine the effects of topical use of these agents in a full-thickness wound model in rats.


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