What The Future Holds For Podiatric Care

Author(s): 
By Brian McCurdy, Associate Editor

   New technologies abound and there is certainly no shortage of new innovations. There are new medications for diabetic neuropathic pain and antibiotic-resistant infections. There are innovative matrices that may enhance the healing environment for wounds. There are leading advances in the limb salvage arena as well as impressive modalities for facilitating bone healing. With that said, let us take a closer look at several new and emerging innovations that may prove beneficial to podiatrists and their patients.

   1. Tigecycline (Tygacil, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals). Given the prevalence of resistant strains of bacteria in lower extremity infections, podiatrists may want to consider adding a new antibiotic agent to their armamentarium. Tygacil recently received FDA approval as the first in its class of glycylcyclines to treat complicated skin and skin structure infections (cSSSIs).

   The manufacturer notes that Tygacil is approved for treating adults with both methicillin-resistant and -susceptible Staph aureus. It is also indicated for those with cSSSIs caused by E. coli, Enterococcus faecalis (only vancomycin-susceptible isolates), Streptococcus agalactiae, Streptococcus anginosus group, Streptococcus pyogenes and Bacteroides fragilis, according to the company.

   Tygacil’s broad spectrum makes it unique from other drugs for resistant gram-positive drugs such as vancomycin, daptomycin or linezolid, according to Warren S. Joseph, DPM. While Tygacil is effective against resistant gram positive cocci such as MRSA, MRSE and VRE, Dr. Joseph points out that the antibiotic is also effective against a broad range of gram-negative organisms and even anaerobic organisms, including strains resistant to many other antibiotics.

    “Overall, tigecycline appears to be an exciting innovation in antibiotic therapy,” says Dr. Joseph, a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. “It may end up being a very useful, single agent therapy for complicated lower extremity infections including severe diabetic foot infections, especially given the tremendous increases in MRSA rates over the past few years.”

   Dr. Joseph cites a phase II study by Postier, et. al., of 109 clinically evaluable, hospitalized patients with cSSSIs. The study found both the 25 mg IV q12h dose of tigecycline and the 50 mg IV q12h doses effective at 67 percent and 74 percent respectively at the test of cure visit.1 Dr. Joseph says these results are “good but not particularly spectacular.” He believes more studies need to be conducted, particularly studies that examine the drug’s efficacy in treating diabetic foot infections.

   There are a couple of drawbacks to tigecycline, according to Dr. Joseph, an Attending Podiatrist at the Coatesville Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Coatesville, Pa.

   Tigecycline is only available via IV. Accordingly, Dr. Joseph says this would limit use of the medication to hospitalized patients or those who can undergo IV therapy at home. He adds that cost may be an issue since parenteral therapy would be more expensive than oral therapy. In clinical trials, Dr. Joseph also cites a “relatively high rate” of GI problems (mostly nausea and diarrhea) with Tygacil so one should monitor this closely.

Will Microdebridement Enhance The Treatment Of Tendon Pathologies?

   2. Topaz Microdebrider (ArthroCare). Can minimally invasive debridement facilitate a quicker post-op recovery and improved outcomes? Using the microdebridement technology of the Topaz system, Arthrocare says podiatrists can perform minimally invasive soft tissue debridement that can aid in the treatment of tendons and fascia.

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