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Study Supports Azithromycin Use in Elders Hospitalized with Pneumonia — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
June 4, 2014

Study Supports Azithromycin Use in Elders Hospitalized with Pneumonia

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, FASAM

The benefit of azithromycin use in elders hospitalized with pneumonia appears to outweigh any potential cardiac risk, according to a retrospective study in JAMA.

Using Veterans Affairs databases, researchers matched nearly 32,000 older patients who were hospitalized with pneumonia and received azithromycin with 32,000 similar patients who received other guideline-concordant antibiotics.

Ninety-day mortality was significantly lower among azithromycin users than nonusers (17% vs. 22%). Myocardial infarction occurred statistically significantly more often among azithromycin users (5.1% vs. 4.4%), whereas rates of cardiovascular events, arrhythmias, and heart failure did not differ between groups.

Patricia Kritek, an associate editor with NEJM Journal Watch General Medicine, said: "While not a randomized, controlled study, this large, population-based cohort analysis supports the continued use of azithromycin as a first-line agent (in conjunction with a beta-lactam) for patients hospitalized with pneumonia."

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