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How long should we treat community-acquired pneumonia?

Scalera, Nikole Ma; File, Thomas M Jra,b

Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases: April 2007 - Volume 20 - Issue 2 - p 177–181
doi: 10.1097/QCO.0b013e3280555072
Respiratory infections

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.

aSumma Health System, Akron

bNortheastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, Rootstown, Ohio, USA

Correspondence to Thomas M. File Jr, Summa Health System, 75 Arch Street, Suite 105, Akron, OH 44304, USA Tel: +1 330 375 3894; fax: +1 330 375 6680; e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.