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Use of long-term macrolide therapy in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Author(s): Ramos FL(1), Criner GJ.

Affiliation(s): Author information: (1)Temple University Hospital, Philadelphia, USA.

Publication date & source: 2014, Curr Opin Pulm Med. , 20(2):153-8

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are associated with adverse outcomes and thus prevention of exacerbations is crucial. New data attest that long-term macrolide therapy decreases the risk of COPD exacerbations. We review the key studies that analyzed the effect of long-term use of macrolide antibiotics on the prevention of exacerbations, focusing on the higher quality evidence. Health-related quality of life, sputum bacteriology and development of resistance, inflammatory markers, lung function, cost-benefit analysis, and lung function in relation to long-term macrolide therapy are also discussed. RECENT FINDINGS: Two well designed, randomized, placebo-controlled trials report that select patients treated for 1 year with erythromycin or azithromycin, in addition to usual care, have prolonged time to and lower frequency of COPD exacerbations. There are more hearing decrements and higher prevalence of macrolide-resistant bacteria among the patients treated with macrolide therapy. SUMMARY: Prevention of COPD exacerbations is paramount given the adverse consequences on quality of life, lung function, and survival. Macrolide therapy for 1 year, in addition to usual therapy, decreases the risk of COPD exacerbations but carries the risk of hearing decrements and development of macrolide-resistant bacteria.

Page last updated: 2014-11-30

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