Acne medication clears up diabetic foot ulcers: study

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A compound used to treat acne appears to aid the healing of foot ulcers in diabetics, researchers have found.

In a pilot study published in the November issue of Archives of Dermatology, investigators discovered that Retin-A (tretinoin), helped reduce and eliminate wounds.
The clinical trial involved 24 volunteers who had diabetic foot ulcers. None of those studied had evidence of infection or circulation problems in the extremities. There were a total of 24 foot ulcers among the 22 patients who completed the pilot study.
After 16 weeks, two of the 11 ulcers in the control group (18%) and 6 of the 13 ulcers in the treated group (46%) healed completely.
While some patients experienced mild pain at the location of the ulcer, there were no statistically significant adverse events among those studied, according to researchers.
"That didn't seem to be a problem in most cases," said Dr. Tissa R. Hata of the Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego.
Dr. Hata and the other researchers "are hoping that diabetic foot clinics will adopt some of this, and use tretinoin when some of the other therapies that they are using don't work."
Previous studies suggesting that topical tretinoin was helpful in enhancing wound healing in patients with diabetes were small and some results had been conflicting.
"We wanted to know if tretinoin really helps or not," Hata said.