HealthDay News — For patients receiving anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) treatment, the risk of developing skin rash is reduced for those taking prophylactic antibiotics, according to a review published online May 23 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Fausto Petrelli, MD, from Piazzale Ospedale in Treviglio, Italy, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine whether prophylactic antibiotics can reduce the occurrence and severity of anti-EGFR drug-related skin rashes. Data were included for 1,073 patients from 13 studies.

The researchers found that, compared to patients without antibiotic prophylaxis, patients in the prophylactic antibiotic arms had a reduced risk of developing a skin rash in all studies (odds ratio, 0.53). Based on 12 studies, moderate-to-severe toxicities were reduced by almost 70% (odds ratio, 0.32). This corresponded to a 26% absolute difference of high-grade skin rash versus control arms (from 50 to 24%).

“Taking preemptive tetracyclines for several weeks at the start of anti-EGFR treatment can significantly reduce the incidence and severity of cutaneous acneiform rash,” the authors write.

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