Current problems in dermatology

Antimicrobial topical agents used in the vagina.

PMID 21325838


Vaginally applied antimicrobial agents are widely used in the vagina in women with lower genital tract infections. An 'antimicrobial' is a general term that refers to a group of drugs that are effective against bacteria, fungi, viruses and protozoa. Topical treatments can be prescribed for a wide variety of vaginal infections. Many bacterial infections, such as bacterial vaginosis, desquamative inflammatory vaginitis or, as some European authors call it, aerobic vaginitis as well as infection with Staphylococcus aureus or group A streptococci, may be treated in this way. Candida vulvovaginitis is a fungal infection that is very amenable to topical treatment. The most common viral infections which can be treated with topical medications are condylomata acuminata and herpes simplex. The most often encountered protozoal vaginitis, which is caused by Trichomonas vaginalis, may be susceptible to topical medications, although this infection is treated systemically. This chapter covers the wide variety of commonly used topical antimicrobial agents for these diseases and focuses on the individual therapeutic agents and their clinical efficacy. In addition, potential difficulties that can occur in practice, as well as the usage of these medications in the special setting of pregnancy, are described in this chapter.