Antibiotics in treatment of COVID-19 complications: a review of frequency, indications, and efficacy

Link to article at PubMed

J Infect Public Health. 2021 Feb 9;14(5):570-576. doi: 10.1016/j.jiph.2021.02.001. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To report available information in the literature regarding frequency, indications, types of antibiotic usage, duration, and their efficacy in Covid-19 infected patients.

METHODS: The search was conducted on April 30 and May 7, 2020, using Ovid database and Google search. Patients' characteristics, clinical outcomes, as well as selected characteristics regarding antibiotic use (indication, class used, rates and types of bacterial secondary and co-infection, and duration of treatment) were analyzed.

RESULTS: Nineteen clinical studies reporting data from 2834 patients were included. Mean rate of antibiotic use was 74.0 % of cases. Half the studies reported occurrence of a bacterial co-infection or complication (10 studies). Amongst the latter, at least 17.6 % of patients who received antibiotics had secondary infections. Pooled data of 4 studies show that half of patients receiving antibiotics were not severe nor critical. Detailed data on antibiotic use lack in most articles.

CONCLUSIONS: The present review found a major use of antibiotics amongst Covid-19 hospitalized patients, mainly in an empirical setting. There is no proven efficacy of this practice. Further research to determine relevant indications for antibiotic use in Covid-19 patients is critical in view of the significant mortality associated with secondary infections in these patients, and the rising antimicrobial resistance.

PMID:33848886 | PMC:PMC7870433 | DOI:10.1016/j.jiph.2021.02.001

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