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Antibiotics useful for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

May 25, 2010 |  1:00 pm

People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease occasionally have flare-ups of their symptoms that require hospitalization. A study published Tuesday shows patients who received antibiotics within the first two days of hospitalization had better outcomes.
This is the second study in two days to show effective strategies for care of people with COPD. On Monday in Booster Shots, we reported on a study showing that beta-blockers may be helpful for some people with COPD at risk for heart disease. Tuesday's study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., reviewed data from more than 84,000 COPD patients at 413 hospitals in the United States. The patients who received antibiotics were much less likely to need mechanical ventilation and had a lower death rate, lower rates of readmission and a lower incidence of treatment failure.
The study suggests that all patients hospitalized with exacerbations of COPD should be treated with antibiotics, even though roughly half of all COPD patients do not have a bacterial cause of the flare-up, the authors said.
-- Shari Roan