This site is intended for health professionals only

No antibiotic class stands out in treatment of LRTIs

By Nigel Praities

No antibiotic class is better than another at treating lower respiratory tract infections, says a new analysis.

The study looked at the treatment of cough or LRTI in 2,700 primary care patients from 13 European countries. The treatment success of all antibiotic classes commonly used for treating LRTI in that country was compared with no antibiotic therapy and amoxicillin.

The researchers found no differences between all antibiotic classes and those receiving no antibiotics with regard to clinically relevant symptom resolution. No antibiotic class was associated with a faster time to recovery than amoxicillin, and this was also true for those not taking antibiotics.

The authors concluded that their results showed empirical antibiotic treatment should still be used with caution for acute cough for LRTIs.

Lead author Professor Chris Butler, head of the department of primary care and public health at Cardiff University and a GP in the city, said: ‘Our findings confirm the view that there's unlikely to be any meaningful advantage from treating acute cough or LRTI with any particular class over another.

‘If clinicians do decide to prescribe antibiotics, the decision should be based primarily on considerations such as cost, incidence of side effects and impact on selection of resistance organisms.'

J Antimicrob Chemother 2010; 65: 2472-2478

No antibiotic class stands out in treatment of LRTIs

Complete relevant Infectious diseases CPD modules on Pulse Learning by registering for free, or upgrade to a premium membership for full access at only £89 a year.