How long should we treat community-acquired pneumonia?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The studies reviewed in this article suggest that a shorter duration of antibiotic therapy is comparable to standard therapy in the treatment of community-acquired pneumonia and promotes reduction of adverse events, microbial resistance, cost, and improved patient compliance.

Recent findings

Community-acquired pneumonia has traditionally been treated with a 7–14-day course of antimicrobial therapy. Since there have been few well controlled trials regarding the optimal duration of therapy, however, there has been no consensus on length of therapy among different organizational guidelines. Several recent studies have demonstrated that shorter course antibiotic regimens are effective in the treatment of community-acquired pneumonia.

Summary

Short-course antibiotic therapy is equivalent to standard length of therapy for clinical cure and bacterial eradication. Minimization of drug exposure, however, reduces selection pressure for resistant strains, strengthens patient compliance, and potentially reduces adverse events such as Clostridium difficile infections.

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