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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Nov;51(11):3977-82. Epub 2007 Aug 20.

Comparison of beta-lactam and macrolide combination therapy versus fluoroquinolone monotherapy in hospitalized Veterans Affairs patients with community-acquired pneumonia.

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  • 1Albany College of Pharmacy, 106 New Scotland Avenue, Albany, NY 12208-3492, USA.


Data comparing the treatment outcomes of the two most frequently recommended empirical antibiotic regimens for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP)--combination therapy with an extended-spectrum beta-lactam and a macrolide (BL+M) or fluoroquinolone (F) monotherapy--for patients with severe CAP are sparse. The purpose of this study was to compare empirical BL+M combination therapy with F monotherapy for Veterans Affairs (VA) patients with severe CAP. This retrospective study included patients with CAP who received empirical therapy with BL+M or F between October 1999 and May 2003 in the Upstate New York VA Network. Outcome measures were 14-day mortality, 30-day mortality, and length of hospital stay (LOS). Severe CAP was defined as a class V pneumonia severity index (PSI). During the study period, 261 patients received BL+M and 254 received F. Disease severity was similar for the two treatment groups at admission, and the presence of tachycardia was the only difference noted. For PSI class V patients, there were lower 14-day and 30-day mortality rates with BL+M than with F (14-day rates, 8.2% versus 26.8% [P = 0.02]; 30-day rates, 18.4% versus 36.6% [P = 0.05]). No differences in mortality between treatment groups were noted for the lower PSI classes. The overall median LOS was significantly longer for the BL+M combination group than for the F monotherapy group (6.0 days versus 5.0 days, respectively [P = 0.01]), but no difference in LOS was noted among PSI class V patients. Our study showed that improved outcomes may be realized with BL+M in cases of severe CAP. A randomized clinical study is warranted based on these results.

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