Main Article Content
Treatment effectiveness, cost effectiveness, lower respiratory tract infection, azithromycin
The antibacterial activity, tolerability profile and duration of treatment associated with antibiotics are important therapy attributes when considering treating patients for lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs), such as community acquired pneumonia (CAP) and acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis (AECB).
To investigate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of oral antibiotics used in the treatment of LRTIs.
A cohort of inhaled corticosteroids users who were diagnosed with a LRTI and dispensed a prescription for one of the antibiotics under study on the same day as the diagnosis was selected from the administrative health databases of the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ). The risks of treatment failure were estimated using a logistic regression analysis. Treatment failure was defined as another prescription for any antibiotic, an emergency room visit or hospitalization for LRTIs, or death, in the 20 days following the dispensation of the first antibiotic prescribed. A cost-minimization analysis was performed in which only the drug costs related to the first antibiotic filled were considered.
A total of 3,610 episodes of LRTIs were studied. There were no significant differences between antibiotics in terms of their respective adjusted odds ratios for rates of failure. However, the lower cost associated with azithromycin was significantly different from the costs associated with any other antibiotic (p<0.0001).
Clinical effectiveness appears to be similar amongst second line antibiotics that are commonly used in the treatment of LRTIs in the community. Using a cost-minimization analysis, azithromycin appears to be the most cost-effective antibiotic treatment in this setting.
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