Amoxicillin for acute lower respiratory tract infection in primary care: subgroup analysis by bacterial and viral aetiology
Bruyndonckx R., Stuart B., Little P., Hens N., Ieven M., Butler CC., Verheij T., Goossens H., Coenen S., Almirall J., Brugman C., Chlabicz S., De Sutter A., Davies M., Godycki-Cwirko M., Fernandez P., Hering I., Hood K., Schaberg GIT., Torres A., Kowalczyk A., Lammens C., Lemiengre M., Leus F., Loens K., Mierzecki A., Moore M., Muras M., O'Reilly G., Romano NS., Prat MS., Swain J., Veen R., Worby T.
© 2017 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Objective: We aimed to assess the effects of amoxicillin treatment in adult patients presenting to primary care with a lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) who were infected with a potential bacterial, viral, or mixed bacterial/viral infection. Methods: This multicentre randomized controlled trial focused on adults with LRTI not suspected for pneumonia. Patients were randomized to receive either antibiotic (amoxicillin 1 g) or placebo three times daily for 7 consecutive days using computer-generated random numbers (follow-up 28 days). In this secondary analysis of the trial, symptom duration (primary outcome), symptom severity (scored 0–6), and illness deterioration (reconsultation with new or worsening symptoms, or hospital admission) were analysed in pre-specified subgroups using regression models. Subgroups of interest were patients with a (strictly) bacterial, (strictly) viral, or combined infection, and patients with elevated values of procalcitonin, C-reactive protein, or blood urea nitrogen. Results: 2058 patients (amoxicillin n = 1036; placebo n = 1022) were randomized. Treatment did not affect symptom duration (n = 1793). Patients from whom a bacterial pathogen only was isolated (n = 207) benefited from amoxicillin in that symptom severity (n = 804) was reduced by 0.26 points (95% CI −0.48 to −0.03). The odds of illness deterioration (n = 2024) was 0.24 (95% CI 0.11 to 0.53) times lower from treatment with amoxicillin when both a bacterial and a viral pathogen were isolated (combined infection; n = 198). Conclusions: Amoxicillin may reduce the risk of illness deterioration in patients with a combined bacterial and viral infection. We found no clinically meaningful benefit from amoxicillin treatment in other subgroups.