Azithromycin Versus Beta-lactams in Hospitalized Patients with Acute Exacerbations of COPD

Link to article at PubMed

J Gen Intern Med. 2022 Mar 22:1-6. doi: 10.1007/s11606-022-07486-5. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: There is a lack of data comparing azithromycin to alternative antibiotic choices in managing COPD exacerbations, making appropriate antibiotic selection controversial.

OBJECTIVE: To compare treatment failure in hospitalized patients with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) receiving azithromycin or beta-lactams.

DESIGN: Retrospective, multicenter cohort study using logistic regression for multivariable analysis. Patients were included if they were at least 18 years old, admitted with AECOPD, and received at least two consecutive days of either a beta-lactam or azithromycin. Patients were excluded if they received concomitant azithromycin and beta-lactam antibiotics during the first 2 days, had a history of other severe underlying pulmonary diseases, pregnancy, COVID-19, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, or received a corticosteroid for a diagnosis other than COPD.

PARTICIPANTS: Five hundred ninety-five patients were included, of which 428 (72%) received azithromycin and 167 patients (28%) received a beta-lactam.

MAIN MEASURES: The primary endpoint was treatment failure rate in patients receiving azithromycin versus beta-lactams, which was a composite endpoint defined as in-hospital mortality, admission to intensive care, initiation of invasive mechanical ventilation, initiation of a new antibiotic, steroid therapy escalation, or readmission due to AECOPD within 30 days.

KEY RESULTS: The composite primary outcome occurred in 84 patients (19.6%) in the azithromycin group and 54 (32.3%) in the beta-lactam group (p<0.01). The difference in the composite outcome was a result of higher rates of new antibiotics during admission (12.6% vs 4.2%; p<0.01) and higher readmission within 30 days (19.3% vs 12.4%; p=0.032). After controlling for potential confounders, beta-lactams continued to demonstrate a higher risk for treatment failure (OR, 2.30; 95% CI, 1.46-3.63). There was no difference in adverse effects between the groups.

CONCLUSION: Azithromycin was associated with less treatment failure in AECOPD which was driven by lower readmission rates and prescription of new antimicrobials.

PMID:35316516 | PMC:PMC8939242 | DOI:10.1007/s11606-022-07486-5

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