Metronidazole Use in Malodorous Skin Lesions


  • Trudy Thompson Rice BSN RN

    Registered Nurse and Medical Writer, Corresponding author
    1. Phoenix, AZ.
      6908 E. Thomas Road, Suite 201, Scottsdale, AZ 85251.
    Search for more papers by this author

6908 E. Thomas Road, Suite 201, Scottsdale, AZ 85251.


Malodorous skin lesions (primarily fungating tumors and decubitus ulcers) can be extremely resistant to efforts to control their odors. The offending bacteria appear to be anaerobes, specifically the Bacteroides species. Topical metronidazole has shown promise for odor control without the cost or side effects of a systemic drug. In various anecdotal reports, lesions in patients treated with topical metronidazole were virtually free of odor within 24 hours, and in some cases, slight improvements in wound appearance and pain also were noted. The encouraging results of these initial experiences with topical metronidazole warrant further study for its efficacy in reducing skin lesion odor.