Comparative effectiveness of empiric antibiotics for community-acquired pneumonia

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DOI: 10.1542/peds.2013-1773; PMCID: PMC4535024


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Narrow-spectrum antibiotics are recommended as the first-line agent for children hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). There is little scientific evidence to support that this consensus-based recommendation is as effective as the more commonly used broad-spectrum antibiotics. The objective was to compare the effectiveness of empiric treatment with narrowspectrum therapy versus broad-spectrum therapy for children hospitalized with uncomplicated CAP.

METHODS: This multicenter retrospective cohort study using medical records included children aged 2 months to 18 years at 4 children's hospitals in 2010 with a discharge diagnosis of CAP. Patients receiving either narrow-spectrum or broad-spectrum therapy in the first 2 days of hospitalization were eligible. Patients were matched by using propensity scores that determined each patient's likelihood of receiving empiric narrow or broad coverage. A multivariate logistic regression analysis evaluated the relationship between antibiotic and hospital length of stay (LOS), 7-day readmission, standardized daily costs, duration of fever, and duration of supplemental oxygen.

RESULTS: Among 492 patients, 52% were empirically treated with a narrowspectrum agent and 48% with a broad-spectrum agent. In the adjusted analysis, the narrow-spectrum group had a 10-hour shorter LOS (P = .04). There was no significant difference in duration of oxygen, duration of fever, or readmission. When modeled for LOS, there was no difference in average daily standardized cost (P = .62) or average daily standardized pharmacy cost (P = .26).

CONCLUSIONS: Compared with broad-spectrum agents, narrow-spectrum antibiotic coverage is associated with similar outcomes. Our findings support national consensus recommendations for the use of narrow-spectrum antibiotics in children hospitalized with CAP.

Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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Antibiotics; Comparative effectiveness; Hospitalized; Pediatric; Pneumonia

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