Background: The ATS (American Thoracic Society) has recommended periodic administration of multidrug therapy, including a macrolide and one or more parenteral agents or a combination of parenteral agents, over 2-4 months, for treatment of Mycobacterium abscessus pulmonary disease. However, there is little hard evidence supporting these guidelines, and treatment outcomes have not yet been reported.
Methods: We retrospectively evaluated 41 patients with M. abscessus pulmonary disease treated in accordance with ATS guidelines. These patients were treated empirically with multidrug regimens, including a macrolide and one (amikacin) or more (amikacin and cefoxitin or imipenem) parenteral agents, over several months. Treatment outcomes were defined as treatment success, failure, or default.
Results: Seventeen (41.5%) patients were prescribed a macrolide and one parenteral agent, and 24 (58.5%) were prescribed a macrolide and two parenteral agents. The median duration of parenteral and total antibiotic treatment were 230 days (range, 60-601 days) and 511 days (range, 164-1249 days), respectively. The treatment success, failure, and default rates were 80.5% (33/41), 12.2% (5/41), and 7.3% (3/41), respectively. Four patients relapsed over 445 days (range, 0-1443 days) of follow-up. There were no significant differences in treatment success and relapse rates between the groups receiving one and two parenteral agents. Adverse reactions developed in 18 of 41 patients (43.9%).
Conclusions: Combination antibiotic therapy, including long-term (minimum 2-4 months) parenteral drugs, as recommended by the ATS, resulted in successful treatment outcomes in 80.5% of patients with M. abscessus lung disease in Korea.
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