Controlled trial of prophylactic antibiotics in minor wounds requiring suture

Lancet. 1975 Dec 13;2(7946):1174-6. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(75)92659-8.


Minor wounds presenting in the accident department requiring suture were randomly allocated to one of three treatment groups: an intramuscular injection of 1-25 megaunits of penicillin as a long-acting depot preparation, local wound irrigation with 100mg of tetracycline in solution, or no antibiotics. All wounds had a standard surgical toilet and were closed under aseptic conditions. Wound infections were noted five to seven days after suture, and in the two groups receiving antibiotics 23% of the wounds were infected whilst in the control group the frequency was 7%. The wisdom of using routine antibiotic prophylaxis in minor wounds is questioned.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Male
  • Minor Surgical Procedures
  • Penicillins / administration & dosage
  • Penicillins / therapeutic use*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / epidemiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control*
  • Sutures*
  • Tetracycline / administration & dosage
  • Tetracycline / therapeutic use*
  • Therapeutic Irrigation


  • Penicillins
  • Tetracycline