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Circulation. 2000 Oct 10;102(15):1755-60.

Randomized secondary prevention trial of azithromycin in patients with coronary artery disease: primary clinical results of the ACADEMIC study.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of Utah, LDS Hospital, Salt Lake City, Utah 84143, USA.



Chlamydia pneumoniae is associated with coronary artery disease (CAD), although its causal role is uncertain. A small preliminary study reported a >50% reduction in ischemic events by azithromycin, an antibiotic effective against C pneumoniae, in seropositive CAD patients. We tested this prospectively in a larger, randomized, double-blind study.


CAD patients (n=302) seropositive to C pneumoniae (IgG titers >/=1:16) were randomized to placebo or azithromycin 500 mg/d for 3 days and then 500 mg/wk for 3 months. The primary clinical end point included cardiovascular death, resuscitated cardiac arrest, nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, unstable angina, and unplanned coronary revascularization at 2 years. Treatment groups were balanced, and azithromycin was generally well tolerated. During the trial, 47 first primary events occurred (cardiovascular death, 9; resuscitated cardiac arrest, 1; MI, 11; stroke, 3; unstable angina, 4; and unplanned coronary revascularization, 19), with 22 events in the azithromycin group and 25 in the placebo group. There was no significant difference in the 1 primary end point between the 2 groups (hazard ratio for azithromycin, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.51 to 1.61; P:=0.74). Events included 9 versus 7 occurring within 6 months and 13 versus 18 between 6 and 24 months in the azithromycin and placebo groups, respectively.


This study suggests that antibiotic therapy with azithromycin is not associated with marked early reductions (>/=50%) in ischemic events as suggested by an initial published report. However, a clinically worthwhile benefit (ie, 20% to 30%) is still possible, although it may be delayed. Larger (several thousand patient), longer-term (>/=3 to 5 years) antibiotic studies are therefore indicated.

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