Despina Contopoulos-Ioannidis, MD

Publication Details

  • Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on the comparative efficacy and safety of azithromycin against other antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections JOURNAL OF ANTIMICROBIAL CHEMOTHERAPY Ioannidis, J. P., Contopoulos-Ioannidis, D. G., Chew, P., Lau, J. 2001; 48 (5): 677-689


    We carried out a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials comparing 3-5 days of azithromycin with other antibiotics that are typically given in longer courses for the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections. For acute otitis media (19 comparisons including 3421 patients), acute sinusitis (11 comparisons including 1742 patients) and acute pharyngitis (16 comparisons including 2447 patients), azithromycin had similar clinical failure rates to the other antibiotics [random effects odds ratios 1.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.81-1.54; 0.91, 95% CI 0.60-1.39; and 1.07, 95% CI 0.59-1.94, respectively]. The difference in clinical failures was <0.5%, and no 95% CIs exceeded 2.0%. There was no heterogeneity between studies. Subtle differences between comparators could have been due to chance. There were no significant differences in bacteriological outcomes. Azithromycin was discontinued because of adverse events in only 37 of 4870 (0.8%) patients. Short courses of azithromycin are as effective as longer courses of other antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections. Convenience of dosing should be balanced against the increased cost of this regimen for the treatment of these common infections, where often no antibiotic may be indicated at all.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000172342800011

    View details for PubMedID 11679557

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