A compound of vitamin A called topical Retin-A also known as tretinoin, mainly used to treat acne problems, enhances the healing of foot ulcers in patients with diabetes, according to a report of the Archives of Dermatology.

Though previous studies showed that topical Retin-A was a bit helpful in enhancing wound healing in patients with diabetes and some results were discussed by different scientifics, a group of researchers tried to know if tretinoin really helped or not to these patients.

The research was carried out with 24 volunteers who had diabetic foot ulcers but who showed no evidence of infection or circulation problems in their extremities. Some patients were assigned to 4 weeks of daily treatment with topical 0.05 per cent tretinoin solution meanwhile the control group was assigned to a treatment with a saline solution. Both groups were assessed every 2 weeks.

The 22 volunteers who completed the study were affected by a total of 24 foot ulcers. 18 per cent of patients in the control group (2 of the 11 ulcers) and 46 per cent of patients in the treated group (6 of the 13 ulcers) achieved a complete healing at the end of 16 weeks. There was no statistical significance of adverse events, though some patients experienced mild pain at the ulcer site.

The researchers were pleased with the results, although they were a bit concerned because tretinoin irritates and they thought that the patients would become so irritated that they wouldn’t be able to continue the research. However, this situation didn’t seem to be a problem in most cases, as they explained.

A conclusion for the researchers was that they hope that diabetic foot clinics know about this and use Retin-A when other therapies that they use don’t work.

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