Oral Antibiotic Treats Childhood Pneumonia in Developing Countries

Amoxicillin offers alternative to injectable penicillin for kids

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FRIDAY, Sept. 24, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- The oral antibiotic amoxicillin may offer an alternative to injectable penicillin for treating pneumonia in young children in developing countries.

That news is reported in an international study in this week's issue of The Lancet.

This could lead to better outcomes for those children and reduced health-care costs, the researchers say.

The study included about 1,700 children, aged 3 months to 5 years, with pneumonia in Africa, Asia and South America. They were randomly assigned to receive either oral amoxicillin or injectable penicillin.

Treatment failure after 48 hours -- the main measure of the study -- was the same in both groups (19 percent). The two groups also had no difference in outcome after five and 14 days.

"Our findings have several important beneficial implications if applied as public health policy; oral amoxicillin will reduce (1) the risk of needle-associated complications such as needle-borne infections; (2) the need for referral or admission; (3) treatment administration costs; and (4) transport, food and lost income costs for the family," researcher Shamin Qazi, of the World Health Organization, said in a prepared statement.

Each year, pneumonia and other respiratory diseases kill about 2 million children under age 5 in developing countries. Currently, injectable penicillin is the recommended treatment for severe pneumonia in these children, the study said.

More information

The American Lung Association has more about pneumonia.

SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, Sept. 23, 2004

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