Treatment for antibiotic-resistant pneumonia patients could make them worse, study finds

A treatment using broad-spectrum antibiotics on pneumonia patients with antibiotic-resistant infections may end up increasing their risk of death, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found.

The use of broad-spectrum antibiotics for pneumonia has increased due to concern for patients who contract drug-resistant infections, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Researchers examined this practice in a multicenter study, conducted from Jan. 1, 2008 to Dec. 31, 2013. The study involved 88,605 patients hospitalized for pneumonia within the Veterans Health Administration, of which 33,632 underwent treatment using broad-spectrum antibiotics.

About10 percent of the patients who received the broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment died.

Using broad-spectrum antibiotics in addition to standard therapy, was linked to an increase in the risk of patient death, compared to the use of standard therapy alone. The broad-spectrum antibiotic strategy also was linked to kidney injury and secondary Clostridioides difficile infection.

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