Navigation Links
Long-Term Antibiotic Use May Lessen COPD Flare-Ups
Date:8/25/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Taking a daily dose of the antibiotic azithromycin may help prevent life-threatening complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), researchers say.

These complications are commonly referred to as acute exacerbations, and they can cause frequent doctor visits and hospitalizations. Although numerous medications are available to help prevent exacerbations, some people still experience several flare-ups a year.

For people with this more serious form of COPD, a new study found that taking azithromycin daily helped to reduce exacerbations. People on the antibiotic had an average of 1.48 exacerbations over a year, compared with 1.83 exacerbations for people who received usual care for COPD.

"We tested whether adding azithromycin to standard therapy would decrease COPD exacerbations, and it did. It was associated with some side effects, but we thought the side effects were limited and the potential benefits for patients with COPD -- in our opinion -- outweighed the potential risks," said the study's lead author, Dr. Richard Albert, chief of medicine at Denver Health, and a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado.

Results of the study are published in the Aug. 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

COPD includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The leading cause of COPD is cigarette smoking, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Symptoms of an exacerbation -- which often accompany a bacterial or viral infection -- may include worsening cough, wheezing and difficulty breathing.

People with more frequent exacerbations have an increased risk of death and experience a more rapid decline in lung function and quality of life, according to background information in the study.

The current study included 1,142 people who were randomly selected to receive a daily dose of 250 milligrams of azithromycin or a placebo pill daily for a year. The study volunteers were at least 40 years old and had been diagnosed with more advanced COPD, as evidenced by emergency room visits, hospitalizations, or the use of oral steroids or continuous oxygen therapy.

In addition, the study volunteers had to be free of heart disease that might be affected by azithromycin, as this medicine is known to cause irregular heartbeats in some people. Some hearing loss has also been associated with use of this drug, and people with existing hearing impairments were also excluded from the study, which was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

After a year, people taking azithromycin were 27 percent less likely to experience an exacerbation, according to the study. Albert added that quality of life was also improved for those taking azithromycin.

He said that the researchers don't know exactly how azithromycin reduced exacerbations, but said it has antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which could be helpful in COPD.

There was an increased risk of hearing loss in those on azithromycin, but Albert said the loss didn't reach a significant enough level for patients to notice it. There was also an increase in azithromycin-resistant bacteria in people taking the drug, but no one developed an antibiotic-resistant infection during the study.

"If, after trying all of the standard treatments, patients are still having acute exacerbations of COPD, adding azithromycin to the treatment regimen will decrease the number of exacerbations," said Albert.

"This is not for all COPD patients; the group of patients we selected were predisposed to having multiple acute exacerbations. This shouldn't be used for everyone," he noted.

"In this study, the exclusion criteria were very selective, and physicians have to be very careful to follow this exclusion criteria," said Dr. Arunabh Talwar, director of advanced lung diseases at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde Park, N.Y. "Physicians have to ask themselves, 'Does my patient have any cardiac conditions that can impact the use of azithromycin,'" he advised.

Dr. Kevin Grady, director of pulmonary and critical care services at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, added: "This study clearly shows a decrease in exacerbations, and that's what we're looking for. We want to keep a patient out of trouble as long as possible because there's higher mortality with frequent exacerbations. The addition of azithromycin therapy makes great sense for the right patient."

More information

Learn more about COPD from the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

SOURCES: Richard Albert, M.D., chief of medicine, Denver Health, and professor of medicine, University of Colorado, Denver; Kevin Grady, M.D., director, pulmonary and critical care services, St. John Hospital and Medical Center, Detroit; Arunabh Talwar, M.D., director, advanced lung diseases program, North Shore-LIJ Health System, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Aug. 25, 2011, New England Journal of Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Battlefield camaraderie yields long-term dividends for veterans, study finds
2. Newer cornea transplant surgery shows short- and long-term promise
3. Proton beam therapy shows encouraging long-term outcome for patients with locally advanced sinonasal cancers
4. Clinton Bush Haiti Fund Awards International Medical Corps $500,000 for Emergency Medical Care and Long-Term Rebuilding
5. Quantity vs. quality: Long-term use of bone-building osteoporosis drugs
6. Options to Integrate Health and Long-Term Care for Dual Eligibles
7. Long-Term Use of Osteoporosis Drugs Linked to Fractures
8. Plaque on CT scan is strong predictor of heart disease, worse long-term outcomes
9. Increased radiation dose does not increase long-term side effects for prostate cancer patients
10. Health Care Reform Bill Will Also Improve Long-Term Care
11. Long-Term Breast-Feeding Tied to More Aggressive Cancers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Long-Term Antibiotic Use May Lessen COPD Flare-Ups
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... , ... “When the Stars Lead Home”: a poignant story of loss, determination, ... Weigel Douglas, an avid reader who lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, ... Hills Adventure Camp. She couldn’t be more grateful. , Twelve-year old Tizzy could not ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 26, 2017 , ... “Cactus Jack: Against All ... so many others. “Cactus Jack: Against All Odds” is the creation of published ... D. Hubbard is married to Jack Carlisle’s third child Jane. Walter. Walter and ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... York (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2017 , ... Dr. ... vascular surgery in New York City. He is known for his distinguished expertise ... in vascular surgery, Dr. Benvenisty holds sub-specialty training in treating renovascular disease and ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... ... May 24, 2017 , ... Dr. Manju R. Kejriwal, a ... orthodontics, with or without a referral. Dr. Kejriwal understands the emotional and financial ... clear braces in Cincinnati, OH. Patients no longer need to feel the esthetic effects ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... , ... May 24, 2017 , ... ... completed Course II of the HP3 (High-Performance Periodontal Practice) continuing education (CE) series. ... the latest advancements in his field by attending numerous CE courses each year. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/9/2017)... , May 9, 2017  Semler Scientific, Inc. ... technology solutions to improve the clinical effectiveness and ... for the first quarter ended March 31, 2017. ... enable our customers to identify when preventive care ... before events like heart attacks or strokes occur," ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... FALLS, N.Y. , May 5, 2017  Hill-Rom ... that will add approximately 100,000 square feet to its ... in September 2016 its commitment to bring more than ... , where Welch Allyn has maintained a significant ... will help accommodate these new positions, a large portion ...
(Date:5/4/2017)... 4, 2017  DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO), a leading ... data solutions, today announced that it is teaming up ... Technologies Limited to lower diabetes healthcare costs in ... card, which is available throughout all provinces and territories ... be eligible for additional savings when shopping for Dario ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: