The diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) is a major disabling complication of diabetes mellitus. Growing evidence suggests that topical erythropoietin (EPO) can promote wound healing. The aim of this study is to clinically assess the efficacy of a proprietary topical EPO-containing hydrogel for treating DFUs. We conducted a randomized, controlled trial in 20 patients with DFUs. After a 14-day screening period, the DFUs of 20 eligible participants who fulfilled the inclusion criteria were randomly assigned (1:1) to either a 12-week of daily treatment with topical EPO and standard-of-care (SOC) or SOC treatment alone. The DFUs were assessed weekly until week 12. The primary outcome was 75% ulcer closure or higher. After 12 weeks of treatment, 75% ulcer closure was achieved in 6 of the 10 patients whose DFUs were treated with topical EPO and in one of the 8 patients whose DFUs were treated with SOC alone. The mean area of the DFUs that were treated with topical EPO and SOC was significantly smaller than those treated with SOC alone (1.2 ± 1.4 cm2 vs. 4.2 ± 3.4 cm2; p = 0.023). Re-epithelialization was faster in the topically EPO-treated DFUs than in the SOC-treated DFUs. There were no treatment-related adverse events. We conclude that topical EPO is a promising treatment for promoting the healing of DFUs. Clinical Trial Registration number: NCT02361931.
- foot ulcer
- wound healing