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Clin Ther. 2006 Sep;28(9):1451-61.

Adherence to infectious diseases society of America guidelines for empiric therapy for patients with community-acquired pneumonia in a commercially insured cohort.

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Department of Outcomes Research and Management, Division of US Human Health, Merck & Co., Inc., West Point, Pennsylvania 19486, USA.



There is little published research addressing how the 2003 Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) guidelines for empiric therapy of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) are implemented in clinical practice.


This study was designed to describe antibiotic treatment patterns among patients with CAP treated in ambulatory settings in light of the IDSA guidelines.


Health insurance claims data from a large managed care organization with -30 million enrollees located in geographically diverse regions of the United States were analyzed. Patients > or =18 years of age with CAP who received a prescription for any antibiotic in an ambulatory setting during 2004 were identified via International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification codes for diagnosis (481-486). Recent antibiotic use was defined as receipt of any antibiotics <90 days before the date of diagnosis. Antibiotics were identified through National Drug Codes and from outpatient medical claims data with the use of J codes. Individuals were classified, per IDSA guidelines, as previously healthy without recent antibiotic use (group 1); previously healthy with recent antibiotic use (group 2); with comorbidities and without recent antibiotic use (group 3); and with comorbidities and recent antibiotic use (group 4). The guideline adherence was calculated using the number of patients receiving recommended treatment divided by the total number of patients in each group.


Of 34,342 patients identified, 76.5% had no reported comorbidities. Among group-1 patients, 52.0% received the recommended empiric therapy (macrolide or doxycycline). In group-2 patients, 42.5% received the recommended therapy (respiratory quinolone alone or advanced-generation macrolide plus amoxicillin or amoxicillin-clavulanate). A high rate of compliance with recommended empiric therapy (advanced-generation macrolides or respiratory quinolones) was observed in group-3 patients (81.5%). In group-4 patients, 43.4% received the recommended therapy (respiratory quinolone or advanced-generation macrolide plus ss-lactam). Patients whose therapy was adherent with the guidelines had fewer respiratory-infection-related hospital admissions within 30 days after initiation of antibiotic treatment (overall, relative risk = 0.81 [95% CI, 0.71-0.94]).


Although these data reflect a period shortly after the 2003 IDSA guidelines were published, they suggest that there is room for improvement with regard to choice of empiric antibiotic therapy among these patients with CAP treated in ambulatory settings.

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