MADRID – Three days of beta-lactam therapy was just as effective as 8 days for clinically stable patients presenting with community-acquired pneumonia.
In a randomized, placebo-controlled trial, 15-day cure rates were 69.9% in patients who took 3 days of antibiotics and 61.2% in those who took 8 days – a nonsignificant difference,said at the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases annual congress.
The French study was one of a series at the meeting demonstrating that, for some groups of patients, short-term antibiotic therapy is a viable – and probably healthy – alternative to the traditional longer courses, said Dr. Dinh of the University of Paris Hospital.
“Reducing treatment time now appears to be manageable and effective in a number of infectious diseases,” Dr. Dinh explained. “Although there are some limits, surely, this change in practice might lead to reduced rates of multidrug-resistant bacteria, fewer adverse events, and surely lower costs.”
The French(Short Duration Treatment of Non-Severe Community-Acquired Pneumonia) randomized 310 patients (mean age, 73.5 years) to either short- or long-course treatment with a beta-lactam antibiotic. Patients were eligible for the study if they were admitted to the hospital for community-acquired pneumonia based on respiratory signs, fever of 38° C or higher, and evidence of new infiltrate on chest radiograph.
All patients were treated with 3 days of amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (Augmentin) or third-generation cephalosporin. Those who had responded clinically by day 3 entered the 5-day randomization period, receiving placebo or 5 more days of active therapy with the same agent.
Clinical requirements for randomization included being afebrile with stable heart and respiratory rate, a systolic blood pressure of at least 90 mm Hg, and oxygen saturation of at least 90%.
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