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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Interventions for the prevention of recurrent erysipelas and cellulitis

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, June 2017
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (93rd percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (72nd percentile)

Mentioned by

1 news outlet
1 blog
1 policy source
27 tweeters
1 Wikipedia page


59 Dimensions

Readers on

378 Mendeley
1 CiteULike
Interventions for the prevention of recurrent erysipelas and cellulitis
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, June 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd009758.pub2
Pubmed ID

Adam Dalal, Marina Eskin-Schwartz, Daniel Mimouni, Sujoy Ray, Walford Days, Emmilia Hodak, Leonard Leibovici, Mical Paul


Erysipelas and cellulitis (hereafter referred to as 'cellulitis') are common bacterial skin infections usually affecting the lower extremities. Despite their burden of morbidity, the evidence for different prevention strategies is unclear. To assess the beneficial and adverse effects of antibiotic prophylaxis or other prophylactic interventions for the prevention of recurrent episodes of cellulitis in adults aged over 16. We searched the following databases up to June 2016: the Cochrane Skin Group Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, Embase, and LILACS. We also searched five trials registry databases, and checked reference lists of included studies and reviews for further references to relevant randomised controlled trials (RCTs). We searched two sets of dermatology conference proceedings, and BIOSIS Previews. Randomised controlled trials evaluating any therapy for the prevention of recurrent cellulitis. Two authors independently carried out study selection, data extraction, assessment of risks of bias, and analyses. Our primary prespecified outcome was recurrence of cellulitis when on treatment and after treatment. Our secondary outcomes included incidence rate, time to next episode, hospitalisation, quality of life, development of resistance to antibiotics, adverse reactions and mortality. We included six trials, with a total of 573 evaluable participants, who were aged on average between 50 and 70. There were few previous episodes of cellulitis in those recruited to the trials, ranging between one and four episodes per study.Five of the six included trials assessed prevention with antibiotics in participants with cellulitis of the legs, and one assessed selenium in participants with cellulitis of the arms. Among the studies assessing antibiotics, one study evaluated oral erythromycin (n = 32) and four studies assessed penicillin (n = 481). Treatment duration varied from six to 18 months, and two studies continued to follow up participants after discontinuation of prophylaxis, with a follow-up period of up to one and a half to two years. Four studies were single-centre, and two were multicentre; they were conducted in five countries: the UK, Sweden, Tunisia, Israel, and Austria.Based on five trials, antibiotic prophylaxis (at the end of the treatment phase ('on prophylaxis')) decreased the risk of cellulitis recurrence by 69%, compared to no treatment or placebo (risk ratio (RR) 0.31, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.13 to 0.72; n = 513; P = 0.007), number needed to treat for an additional beneficial outcome (NNTB) six, (95% CI 5 to 15), and we rated the certainty of evidence for this outcome as moderate.Under prophylactic treatment and compared to no treatment or placebo, antibiotic prophylaxis reduced the incidence rate of cellulitis by 56% (RR 0.44, 95% CI 0.22 to 0.89; four studies; n = 473; P value = 0.02; moderate-certainty evidence) and significantly decreased the rate until the next episode of cellulitis (hazard ratio (HR) 0.51, 95% CI 0.34 to 0.78; three studies; n = 437; P = 0.002; moderate-certainty evidence).The protective effects of antibiotic did not last after prophylaxis had been stopped ('post-prophylaxis') for risk of cellulitis recurrence (RR 0.88, 95% CI 0.59 to 1.31; two studies; n = 287; P = 0.52), incidence rate of cellulitis (RR 0.94, 95% CI 0.65 to 1.36; two studies; n = 287; P = 0.74), and rate until next episode of cellulitis (HR 0.78, 95% CI 0.39 to 1.56; two studies; n = 287). Evidence was of low certainty.Effects are relevant mainly for people after at least two episodes of leg cellulitis occurring within a period up to three years.We found no significant differences in adverse effects or hospitalisation between antibiotic and no treatment or placebo; for adverse effects: RR 0.87, 95% CI 0.58 to 1.30; four studies; n = 469; P = 0.48; for hospitalisation: RR 0.77, 95% CI 0.37 to 1.57; three studies; n = 429; P = 0.47, with certainty of evidence rated low for these outcomes. The existing data did not allow us to fully explore its impact on length of hospital stay.The common adverse reactions were gastrointestinal symptoms, mainly nausea and diarrhoea; rash (severe cutaneous adverse reactions were not reported); and thrush. Three studies reported adverse effects that led to discontinuation of the assigned therapy. In one study (erythromycin), three participants reported abdominal pain and nausea, so their treatment was changed to penicillin. In another study, two participants treated with penicillin withdrew from treatment due to diarrhoea or nausea. In one study, around 10% of participants stopped treatment due to pain at the injection site (the active treatment group was given intramuscular injections of benzathine penicillin).None of the included studies assessed the development of antimicrobial resistance or quality-of-life measures.With regard to the risks of bias, two included studies were at low risk of bias and we judged three others as being at high risk of bias, mainly due to lack of blinding. In terms of recurrence, incidence, and time to next episode, antibiotic is probably an effective preventive treatment for recurrent cellulitis of the lower limbs in those under prophylactic treatment, compared with placebo or no treatment (moderate-certainty evidence). However, these preventive effects of antibiotics appear to diminish after they are discontinued (low-certainty evidence). Treatment with antibiotic does not trigger any serious adverse events, and those associated are minor, such as nausea and rash (low-certainty evidence). The evidence is limited to people with at least two past episodes of leg cellulitis within a time frame of up to three years, and none of the studies investigated other common interventions such as lymphoedema reduction methods or proper skin care. Larger, high-quality studies are warranted, including long-term follow-up and other prophylactic measures.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 27 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 378 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 378 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 59 16%
Student > Bachelor 50 13%
Researcher 29 8%
Other 28 7%
Student > Ph. D. Student 28 7%
Other 61 16%
Unknown 123 33%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 138 37%
Nursing and Health Professions 33 9%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 13 3%
Psychology 10 3%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 8 2%
Other 48 13%
Unknown 128 34%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 35. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 28 June 2021.
All research outputs
of 22,981,247 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,337 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 316,825 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 267 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 22,981,247 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 95th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,337 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 30.7. This one has done well, scoring higher than 82% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 316,825 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 93% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 267 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 72% of its contemporaries.