Antibiotics linked to 29% longer hospital stays for asthma patients

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine examined whether antibiotic therapy for patients with asthma results in improved outcomes.

Researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study that included data for 19,811 adults, hospitalized for asthma exacerbation and treated with corticosteroids, in 542 U.S.-based acute care hospitals from Jan. 1, 2015, through Dec. 31, 2016. For the purposes of the study, researchers defined early antibiotic treatment as treatment initiated during the first two days of hospitalization and prescriptions lasting for a minimum of two days.

Of the 19,811 patients, 44.4 percent were prescribed antibiotics. The patients prescribed antibiotics were older, more likely to be white and smokers, and had a higher number of comorbidities as compared to those who did not receive antibiotic treatment.

The patients who received antibiotic prescriptions had a significantly longer hospital stay and a similar rate of treatment failure to those who did not receive antibiotics.

Researchers also conducted a propensity score-matched analysis, which showed that receiving antibiotics was linked to a 29 percent longer hospital stay and higher cost of hospitalization, but was not associated with a higher risk of treatment failure as compared to not receiving antibiotics.

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