Early Administration of Azithromycin and Prevention of Severe Lower Respiratory Tract Illnesses in Preschool Children With a History of Such Illnesses

The goal of this study was to determine if early administration of azithromycin in preschool children suffering from recurrent lower respiratory tract infections would effective at preventing the progression of the infection.

The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled parallel study taking place across 9 centers in the US. There were 607 patients, ranging in age from 12-71 months old, with past history of recurrent respiratory infections. Patients either received 12mg/kg daily of azithromycin or a placebo at the onset of infection sympthoms, with the clinical endpoint being the number of infections not progressing to a severe level.

The study concluded that the azithromycin treatment significantly reduced the risk of progression of the infection, with a hazard ratio of 0.64, and a risk difference of developing the first infection between the azithromycin group and the placebo group of 0.03. The patients treated with azithromycin infrequently experienced any adverse side effects from the treatment.

This study is interesting to me because it seems that many respiratory infections can be prevented early on if treated with azithromycin, reducing the suffering of the child and saving the patient and the healthcare system money, which is desirable for all parties. It is also useful to know for a fact that this particular antibiotic is successful in treating these types of infections so that an appropriate drug therapy can be chosen from the start instead of having to try multiple different antibiotics.

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