Aim: This paper is a report of a study to compare a medical grade honey with conventional treatments on the healing rates of wounds healing by secondary intention.
Background: There is an increasing body of evidence to support the use of honey to treat wounds, but there is a lack of robust randomized trials on which clinicians can base their clinical judgement.
Method: A sample of 105 patients were involved in a single centre, open-label randomized controlled trial in which patients received either a conventional wound dressing or honey. Data were collected between September 2004 and May 2007.
Results: The median time to healing in the honey group was 100 days compared with 140 days in the control group. The healing rate at 12 weeks was equal to 46.2% in the honey group compared with 34.0% in the conventional group, and the difference in the healing rates (95% confidence interval, CI) at 12 weeks between the two groups was 12.2% (-13.6%, 37.9%). The unadjusted hazard ratio (95% CI) from a Cox regression was equal to 1.30 (0.77, 2.19), P = 0.321. When the treatment effect was adjusted for confounding factors (sex, wound type, age and wound area at start of treatment), the hazard ratio increased to 1.51 but was again not statistically significant.
Conclusion: Wound area at start of treatment and sex are both highly statistically significant predictors of time to healing. These results support the proposition that there are clinical benefits from using honey in wound care, but further research is needed.