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Measuring hormone cuts antibiotic use in half in pneumonia patients

e a patient is in the hospital), and randomly divided them into two groups. Once group was given the standard antibiotic treatment, while the other was first tested for procalcitonin levels. Fifteen percent of those patients had very low procalcitonin levels, and were presumed to have viral pneumonia; they were not given antibiotics. The remaining 85% had high levels and were started on antibiotics. The researchers measured their procalcitonin levels four, six and eight days later, and discontinued their antibiotics if their levels were low.

Patients in the procalcitonin group who started on antibiotic treatment were able to stop after an average of six days. Their course of illness was similar to those patients who received a full course of antibiotics, in terms of their recovery and number of days spent in the hospital. "We showed we were able to cut the number of days patients were on antibiotics in half, without compromising their outcome," Dr. Tamm said.


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Contact: Jim Augustine
619-525-6216
American Thoracic Society
24-May-2005


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