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Wednesday 20th June 2018

Pneumonia 'needs less treatment'

26th June 2006

Fewer antibiotics are needed to treat community-acquired pneumonia, a Dutch team says.

Current guidance recommends antibiotic treatment for seven to 10 days but little evidence supports this strategy, but a study published in the British Medical Journal found that three days of antibiotic treatment were just as good as an eight-day course.

Experts said shorter drug courses may be effective in other infections and would help fight antibiotic resistance.

Community-acquired pneumonia is one of the most important reasons for the prescribing of antibiotics in hospitals, and reducing treatment duration could result in a big drop in use of the drugs.

Researchers compared the effectiveness of discontinuing treatment with amoxicillin after three days or eight days in 119 adults admitted to nine hospitals in the Netherlands with mild to moderate-severe community acquired pneumonia.

In patients treated for three days and eight days, the clinical success rate at day 10 was 93 per cent. By day 28, the effectiveness of three-day treatment was 90 per cent compared with 88 per cent for eight day treatment.

Both groups had similar improvement in symptoms, x-ray results, and length of hospital stay.

However, the researchers did not look at people who had severe pneumonia.

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