Impetigo is a common superficial skin infection that affects people worldwide and is usually treated with antibiotics; therefore, its management has implications for global antibiotic stewardship.
This systematic review and narrative synthesis compares and contrasts international impetigo management guidelines.
Guidelines for treatment of impetigo that were produced by a national authority; available to primary care physicians; and published since 2008 were included. Following a comprehensive search strategy, data extraction from eligible studies was performed independently in duplicate. Details of antiseptic and antibiotic treatment; methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus treatment; and conservative management and preventative measures were tabulated and analysed descriptively.
Fifty-one guidelines were included from 42 different countries. All guidelines recommended systemic antibiotics, 78% of these only for widespread lesions or failure of topical antibiotic treatment. The first-line systemic antibiotic treatment was restricted to narrow-spectrum options in 21 (41%) whilst 7 (14%) recommended only broad-spectrum antibiotics first-line. Thirty-four (67%) guidelines included recommendations for topical antibiotic use. Twenty guidelines (39%) did not mention antiseptic treatment for impetigo. Guidelines did not always provide clear indications for different treatment options.
Despite potentially equal efficacy to systemic antibiotics, only two-thirds of guidelines include topical antibiotic options. Many fail to include recommendations for non-antibiotic treatments such as antiseptics, preventative measures and conservative management, despite potential for antibiotic-sparing. Provision of clear definitions of disease severity and indications for treatment would enhance the ability of clinicians to adhere to recommendations.
PROSPERO CRD42018117770.

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