Tea tree oil (5%) body wash versus standard care (Johnson's Baby Softwash) to prevent colonization with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in critically ill adults: a randomized controlled trial

Bronagh Blackwood, Gillian Thompson, Ronan McMullan, Michael Stevenson, Thomas V Riley, Fiona A Alderdice, T John Trinder, Gavin G Lavery, Danny F McAuley

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20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To determine whether the daily use of 5% tea tree oil (TTO) body wash (Novabac 5% Skin Wash) compared with standard care [Johnson's Baby Softwash (JBS)] had a lower incidence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization.

PATIENTS: The study setting was two intensive care units (ICUs; mixed medical, surgical and trauma) in Northern Ireland between October 2007 and July 2009. The study population comprised 391 patients who were randomized to JBS or TTO body wash.

METHODS: This was a Phase 2/3, prospective, open-label, randomized, controlled trial. Trial registration: ISRCTN65190967. The primary outcome was new MRSA colonization during ICU stay. Secondary outcomes included the incidence of MRSA bacteraemia and maximum increase in sequential organ failure assessment score.

RESULTS: A total of 445 patients were randomized to the study. After randomization, 54 patients were withdrawn; 30 because of a positive MRSA screen at study entry, 11 due to lack of consent, 11 were inappropriately randomized and 2 had adverse reactions. Thirty-nine (10%) patients developed new MRSA colonization (JBS n?=?22, 11.2%; TTO body wash n?=?17, 8.7%). The difference in percentage colonized (2.5%, 95% CI -?8.95 to 3.94; P?=?0.50) was not significant. The mean maximum increase in sequential organ failure assessment score was not significant (JBS 1.44, SD 1.92; TTO body wash 1.28, SD 1.79; P?=?0.85) and no study patients developed MRSA bacteraemia.

CONCLUSIONS: Compared with JBS, TTO body wash cannot be recommended as an effective means of reducing MRSA colonization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1193-1199
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Volume68
Issue number5
Early online date07 Jan 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2013

Keywords

  • melaleuca alternifloria
  • MRSA
  • humans
  • tea tree oil

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