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Azithromycin for Recurrent Respiratory Tract Infections in Pediatric Populations

13 August 2016


Background: Severe lower respiratory tract infections in pediatric populations result in millions of hospitalizations worldwide. Some children experience recurrent symptoms and progressive episodes multiple times a year. Azithromycin has demonstrated not only antimicrobial but also potential antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Can azithromycin decrease disease severity or recurrence in pediatric patients with debilitating chronic respiratory tract symptoms?

Methods: Exhaustive search of available medical literature was performed using MEDLINE-Ovid, Web of Science, and CINAHL. The search terms azithromycin, respiratory tract infection, lower respiratory tract, disease progression, and recurrence were used. Studies were limited to children, age 0 to 18, and randomized control trials. Articles were assessed for quality using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) criteria.

Results: Two articles met eligibility criteria. The studies were randomized control trials evaluating azithromycin and its effect on respiratory tract infections. They both demonstrated improved outcomes in symptom severity and progression. The overall quality of both studies was moderate with room for future improvement.

Conclusion: Azithromycin is an appropriate treatment option to consider when evaluating an effective treatment plan for pediatric populations with multiple severe recurrent respiratory tract symptoms. It is important to tailor each treatment plan with patient response and judiciously utilize antibiotics. The most appropriate timeframe and dose of therapy is still to be determined.

Keywords: azithromycin, respiratory tract infection, lower respiratory tract, disease progression, recurrence


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