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Newer antibiotic more effective at treating elders’ pneumonia


A newer antibiotic medication proved more effective at knocking out community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in patients 65 and older than the antibiotic that has been the front-line CAP treatment the last decade, according to a national study coordinated at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

CAP is the fifth-leading cause of death in the elderly, is diagnosed in 5.6 million adults annually in the U.S., and is 60 percent more likely to occur in the elderly than in the general population. The Community-Acquired Pneumonia Recovery in the Elderly (CAPRIE) study, led by Antonio Anzueto, M.D., professor of medicine at the Health Science Center, is reported in the current issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

"The CAPRIE study is very unique in that it was conducted only in patients 65 and older, such as the median age was 78," Dr. Anzueto said. "Community-acquired pneumonia is a common infectious disease process in the elderly. Pneumonia has been identified as the leading infectious disease associated with the higher mortality (death) in this age group. This is also the first time the two leading antibiotics for CAP have been compared in a well-controlled clinical trial."

Treated with the newer medication, moxifloxacin HCI, 97.9 percent of hospitalized patients recovered within three to five days of therapy onset, compared to 90 percent of patients treated with the standard medication, levofloxacin. Study findings were in 281 patients at 47 centers.

"At the end of the day, another important question was safety," Dr. Anzueto said. "This study involved very sophisticated assessment of cardiac safety. We found both treatments to be safe." San Antonio patients were treated at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System.

Moxifloxacin HCI’s greater efficacy earlier in hospital stays should lead to less occurrence of incapacitating long-term effects, Dr. Anzueto said.

Moxifloxacin HCI and levofloxacin are in a group of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones.

Will Sansom | EurekAlert!
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