Recent advances on topical antimicrobials for skin and soft tissue infections and their safety concerns

P. L. Lam, K. K.H. Lee, R. S.M. Wong, G. Y.M. Cheng, Zhaoxiang Bian, Chung Hin Chui*, R. Gambari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Antimicrobial resistance of disease-related microorganisms is considered a worldwide prevalent and serious issue which increases the failure of treatment outcomes and leads to high mortality. Considering that the increased resistance to systemic antimicrobial therapy often needs of the use of more toxic agents, topical antimicrobial therapy emerges as an attractive route for the treatment of infectious diseases. The topical antimicrobial therapy is based on the absorption of high drug doses in a readily accessible skin surface, resulting in a reduction of microbial proliferation at infected skin sites. Topical antimicrobials retain the following features: (a) they are able to escape the enzymatic degradation and rapid clearance in the gastrointestinal tract or the first-pass metabolism during oral administration; (b) alleviate the physical discomfort related to intravenous injection; (c) reduce possible adverse effects and drug interactions of systemic administrations; (d) increase patient compliance and convenience; and (e) reduce the treatment costs. Novel antimicrobials for topical application have been widely exploited to control the emergence of drug-resistant microorganisms. This review provides a description of antimicrobial resistance, common microorganisms causing skin and soft tissue infections, topical delivery route of antimicrobials, safety concerns of topical antimicrobials, recent advances, challenges and future prospective in topical antimicrobial development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-78
Number of pages39
JournalCritical Reviews in Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Antibacterial
  • antifungal
  • clinical efficacy
  • cutaneous diseases
  • transdermal


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