International wound journal

Antimicrobial sutures and prevention of surgical site infection: assessment of the safety of the antiseptic triclosan.

PMID 21854548


This article is based on a second Hygienist Panel meeting held in London on 16-17 June 2010. The Panel discussed the current use of antimicrobials and care bundles in the prevention of surgical site infection; the need to comply with good antibiotic stewardship, to reduce the risk of antibiotic-resistant and emergent organisms; and the need to revisit the use of antiseptics. The discussion was driven by concerns of the use of triclosan, which had been raised by a publication from the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products of the Directorate General for Health and Consumers, European Commission. Uncertainties that excessive use of triclosan for preservation and in cosmetics could select naturally resistant environmental organisms or induce reduced triclosan-susceptibility or antibiotic resistance were considered. It was concluded that the uses of triclosan with demonstrable health benefits, as in some medical applications (such as antimicrobial sutures), need to be distinguished from those where there is no proven benefit, such as its use in certain consumer products. The addition of triclosan to a product must be substantiated in any claim of preventive or therapeutic health benefit. Triclosan is the most widely studied biocide and this same level of information should be available for other topically used antimicrobials, which are widely used in surgical practice and chronic wound care.