Antibiotics ineffective for nearly 25% of pneumonia patients

Nearly 25 percent of adult patients treated for pneumonia with antibiotics in an outpatient setting do not respond to the treatment, suggest the findings from a study presented during the 2017 American Thoracic Society International Conference held in Washington, D.C., from May 19 to May 24.


For the study, researchers examined medical records for 251,947 adult patients treated with a single class of antibiotics between 2011 and 2015. Analysis revealed antibiotic prescriptions failed 22.1 percent of the time. Antibiotic failure was defined as the need to refill antibiotic prescriptions, switching to a different antibiotic, a visit to the emergency room or hospitalization within 30 days of filling the initial antibiotic prescription.

"Our data provide numerous insights into characteristics of patients who are at higher risk of complications and clinical failure," said James McKinnell, MD, a researcher and infectious disease specialist at Los Angeles BioMed. "Perhaps the most striking example is the association between age and hospitalization: Patients over the age of 65 were nearly twice as likely to be hospitalized compared to younger patients when our analysis was risk adjusted and nearly three times more likely in unadjusted analysis. Elderly patients are more vulnerable and should be treated more carefully, potentially with more aggressive antibiotic therapy."

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