Antibiotics combat COPD

Antibiotics combat COPD exacerbations

By David Holmes

08 August 2008

Thorax 2008: Advance online publication

MedWire News: Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can reduce their risk for suffering an exacerbation by taking antibiotics in addition to oral corticosteroids, researchers report.

Berendina Roede (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and team studied data on 49,599 Dutch patients with COPD.

A total of 18,928 patients experienced at least one exacerbation between 2003 and 2006. Of these, 52% received treatment with antibiotics as well as oral corticosteroids or other respiratory medications, while the remainder received no antibiotic treatment.

The researchers found that the average time to a second exacerbation in patients who initially received antibiotics was 418 days, compared with 321 days in those who did not receive antibiotics.

Furthermore, the average time to a third exacerbation was 240 days in the antibiotic group compared with just 127 days in the other group.

The protective effect of antibiotics against further exacerbations was greatest during the first 3 months after treatment.

The researchers also found that treatment with antibiotics was associated with improved survival during the monitoring period.

Roede and team conclude: “Treatment with antibiotics in addition to oral corticosteroids was associated with a longer time to the next exacerbation, and a decreased risk of developing a new exacerbation.”

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