JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Pharmacological management of tetanus: an evidence-based review.

Tetanus is becoming rarer in both industrialized and developing nations due to an effective vaccination program. In 2010, the World Health Organization estimated there was a 93% reduction in newborns dying from tetanus worldwide, compared to the situation in the late 1980s. Due to its rarity, many diagnostic delays occur as physicians may not consider the diagnosis until the manifestations become overt. Without timely diagnosis and proper treatment, severe tetanus is fatal (mortality is also influenced by the comorbidities of the patient). The principles of treating tetanus are: reducing muscle spasms, rigidity and autonomic instability (with ventilatory support when necessary); neutralization of tetanus toxin with human antitetanus immunoglobulin or equine antitetanus sera; wound debridement; and administration of antibiotics to eradicate locally proliferating bacteria at the wound site. It is difficult to conduct trials on different treatment modalities in tetanus due to both logistical and ethical reasons. However, it is imperative that physicians are aware of the best evidence-based treatment strategies currently available to improve the outcome of patients. This review concentrates on analyzing the current evidence on the pharmacological management of tetanus.

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