Efficacy and safety of topical sevoflurane in the treatment of chronic skin ulcers

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Results of efficacy and safety assessments of topical sevoflurane use in patients with long-term treatment-refractory vascular ulcers are reported.


Patients were randomly assigned to receive sevoflurane instillations (1 mL per cm2 of ulcer area 1–4 times daily) plus standard wound care (ulcer cleaning, debridement, and dressing changes) or standard care only. Topical sevoflurane was initiated during hospitalization, with self- or nurse-administered instillations continued after discharge. Study participants were evaluated at least once weekly for 1 month and then every 2 weeks for up to 90 days. The primary efficacy measures were debridement-related and overall pain (assessed using a 10-point visual analog scale), daily opioid use, and ulcer size; secondary measures were patient and clinician impressions of improvement and ulcer-related admissions during treatment. The primary safety endpoint was intolerable sevoflurane-related adverse effects.


Compared with the group receiving standard care alone (n = 5), the sevoflurane group (n = 10) had significant (p = 0.001) reductions in mean ± S.D. scores for debridement-related pain on day 1 of treatment and at subsequent time points; the sevoflurane group also had significant reductions in overall pain, daily opioid use, and ulcer size. Outcomes in terms of patient- and clinician-rated improvement and emergency admissions also favored the sevoflurane group. Mild localized reddening in the area surrounding ulcers occurred in 4 sevoflurane-treated patients.


Direct application of sevoflurane onto vascular ulcers resulted in an intense and long-lasting analgesia and was associated with a progressive reduction of ulcer size.

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