Population antibiotic susceptibility for Streptococcus pneumoniae and treatment outcomes in common respiratory tract infections

Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2006 Jan;15(1):1-9. doi: 10.1002/pds.1135.


Purpose: Antibiotic-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae potentially threatens the successful treatment of common respiratory tract infections (RTIs); however, the relationship between antibiotic resistance and treatment outcomes remains unclear. We aimed to test the hypothesis that higher in vitro penicillin and erythromycin nonsusceptibility levels among clinical isolates of S. pneumoniae are associated with higher risk of treatment failure in suppurative acute otitis media (AOM), acute sinusitis, and acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis (AECB).

Methods: We conducted a population-level analysis using treatment outcomes data from a national, managed-care claims database, and antibiotic susceptibility data from a national repository of antimicrobial susceptibility results between 1997 and 2000. Treatment outcomes in patients with suppurative AOM, acute sinusitis, or AECB receiving selected macrolides or beta-lactams were assessed. Associations between RTI-specific treatment outcomes and antibiotic nonsusceptibility were determined using Spearman correlation coefficients with condition-specific paired outcome and susceptibility data for each region and each year.

Results: There were 649 552 available RTI outcomes and 7252 susceptibility tests performed on S. pneumoniae isolates. There were no statistically significant trends across time for resolution proportions following treatment by either beta-lactams or macrolides among any of the RTIs. Correlation analyses found no statistically significant association between S. pneumoniae susceptibility and RTI treatment outcomes apart from a significant positive association between of erythromycin nonsusceptibility in ear isolates and macrolide treatment resolution for suppurative AOM.

Conclusion: On the population level, in vitro S. pneumoniae nonsusceptibility to macrolide or beta-lactam antibiotics was not associated with treatment failure in conditions of probable S. pneumoniae etiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bronchitis, Chronic / drug therapy
  • Bronchitis, Chronic / microbiology
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial*
  • Humans
  • Macrolides / therapeutic use
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Otitis Media, Suppurative / drug therapy
  • Otitis Media, Suppurative / microbiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / drug therapy*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / microbiology
  • Sinusitis / drug therapy
  • Sinusitis / microbiology
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / drug effects*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • beta-Lactams / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Macrolides
  • beta-Lactams