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New research spares children the pain of the needle

Children suffering from pneumonia could be spared the pain of the doctors needle, thanks to new research funded by the British Lung Foundation.

The study, a world-first carried out by researchers at The University of Nottingham, discovered that children given oral treatment recovered as quickly, suffered less pain, required less oxygen therapy in hospital and were able to go home sooner than those given injections.

Two-and-a-half million children are affected by pneumonia each year in Europe. Until now, most children have been admitted to hospital and treated with injected antibiotics.

The findings suggest that these injections endured by generations of children may be unnecessary and could be replaced with oral doses of the medicine in the majority of cases. The study has been published online in the medical journal Thorax.

The research involved 243 children in hospitals throughout the UK. It was led by Terence Stephenson, Professor of Child Health, and Dr Maria Atkinson, both of The University of Nottinghams Medical School.

The study is the first in the developed world to compare oral treatment versus intravenous (IV) treatment for children with community-acquired pneumonia, who are unwell enough to need admission to hospital.

Professor Stephenson said: This is good news for children who hate injections; good news for parents whose children will spend less time in hospital; good news for paediatricians who hate sticking needles in children and good news for the NHS, as fewer beds will be occupied and the treatment is cheaper.

Dame Helena Shovelton, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: Treating childhood pneumonia will be less painful and distressing for parents, for children and for the health professionals caring for them, thanks to this research. We are very proud to have made this breakthrough possible.

The research project involved 243 children, enrolled over
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Contact: Professor Terence Stephenson
terence.stephenson@nottingham.ac.uk
University of Nottingham
26-Jun-2007


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