Topical Honey for Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Key DFM Personnel

Jennifer Eddy, MD - Principal Investigator
Nancy Accola - Study Nurse Coordinator
Dr. Mack Community Physician and Podiatrist

Funding Agencies

UW Medical Education and Research Committee
American Academy of Family Physicians

Specific Aims

The specific goal of this pilot project is to assess the effectiveness of honey vs. saline dressings in healing diabetic ulcers.

Research Design

The proposed project is a randomized controlled trial of topical honey and Aquagel saline treatment to heal below-the-knee ulcers in 30 patients with diabetes.

Methods

Patients with diabetes and below-the-knee ulcers are recruited from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Family Medicine Clinic, the Chippewa Valley Free Clinic and physicians' offices in the Eau Claire region. As part of this project, a Community Nurse provides weekly Foot Clinics at a local free care clinic, serving to educate and treat patients at risk for diabetic foot ulcers

Eligible patients are randomly assigned to receive either topical honey or Aquagel saline topically twice a day. Care for the ulcers is provided by a podiatrist skilled in diabetic ulcer care who is blinded to the topical therapies the patients are receiving. The primary endpoint for this study is the percent reduction in ulcer size after 4 weeks of care, as this has been shown to correlate with ulcer healing. Secondary outcomes include cost, number of podiatry visits, weeks of antibiotic use and weeks until ulcer resolution.

Relevance

This pilot study is the first step in investigating honey's effectiveness, which has been suggested but not rigorously demonstrated in the medical literature. Topical honey is a therapy with significant potential to advance public health in three ways: (1) by improving outcomes for patients with diabetic foot ulcers; (2) by reducing the costs associated with long- term care and amputation; and (3) by reducing the prevalence of drug-resistant organisms which are often fostered by non-healing diabetic ulcers.


Wisconsin Public Television Video

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