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Clinical Trial
, 310 (6991), 1360-2

Oral Versus Intravenous Antibiotics for Community Acquired Lower Respiratory Tract Infection in a General Hospital: Open, Randomised Controlled Trial

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Clinical Trial

Oral Versus Intravenous Antibiotics for Community Acquired Lower Respiratory Tract Infection in a General Hospital: Open, Randomised Controlled Trial

R Chan et al. BMJ.

Abstract

Objective: To see whether there is a difference in outcome between patients treated with oral and intravenous antibiotics for lower respiratory tract infection.

Design: Open controlled trial in patients admitted consecutively and randomised to treatment with either oral co-amoxiclav, intravenous followed by oral co-amoxiclav, or intravenous followed by oral cephalosporins.

Setting: Large general hospital in Dublin.

Patients: 541 patients admitted for lower respiratory tract infection during one year. Patients represented 87% of admissions with the diagnosis and excluded those who were immunocompromised and patients with severe life threatening infection.

Main outcome measures: Cure, partial cure, extended antibiotic treatment, change of antibiotic, death, and cost and duration of hospital stay.

Results: There were no significant differences between the groups in clinical outcome or mortality (6%). However, patients randomised to oral co-amoxiclav had a significantly shorter hospital stay than the two groups given intravenous antibiotic (median 6 v 7 and 9 days respectively). In addition, oral antibiotics were cheaper, easier to administer, and if used routinely in the 800 or so patients admitted annually would lead to savings of around 176,000 pounds a year.

Conclusions: Oral antibiotics in community acquired lower respiratory tract infection are at least as efficacious as intraveous therapy. Their use reduces labour and equipment costs and may lead to earlier discharge from hospital.

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