Role of Nasopharyngeal Culture in Antibiotic Prescription for Patients with Common Cold or Acute Sinusitis

  • L. Kaiser
  • A. Morabia
  • H. Stalder
  • A. Ricchetti
  • R. Auckenthaler
  • F. Terrier
  • B. Hirschel
  • N. Khaw
  • J.-S. Lacroix
  • D. Lew
Article

Abstract

 The aim of the present study was to assess the hypothesis that, when present in nasopharyngeal secretions, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis play a pathogenic role early in the course of an upper respiratory tract infection. Adults with a clinical diagnosis of acute sinusitis or common cold were enrolled. Participants were randomly assigned in a double-blind manner to receive azithromycin 500 mg daily or placebo for 3 days. The effect of treatment on symptom evolution in the predefined subset of patients with Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, or Moraxella catarrhalis in their nasopharyngeal secretions was assessed. Of 265 patients enrolled, 132 received placebo and 133 azithromycin. Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, or Moraxella catarrhalis was identified in nasopharyngeal secretions of 77 patients (29%). In this predefined subgroup of patients with Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, or Moraxella catarrhalis, resolution of symptoms by day 7 occurred in 73% of those treated with azithromycin compared with 47% of those who received placebo (P=0.007). The median time before resolution of symptoms was 5 days in the azithromycin group compared to 7 days in the placebo group. Respiratory complications requiring antibiotic treatment occurred in 19% of patients in the placebo group and in 3% of the azithromycin group (P=0.025). In the remaining 188 patients without Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, or Moraxella catarrhalis, resolution of symptoms by day 7 was similar in both groups (69% in the placebo group vs. 64% in the azithromycin group [P=0.75]). Antibiotic treatment is of clinical benefit for patients with acute sinusitis or common cold when Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, or Moraxella catarrhalis is present in nasopharyngeal secretions. This observation provides new insights into the pathogenic role of these bacteria in the early stage of the common cold.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Kaiser
    • 1
  • A. Morabia
    • 2
  • H. Stalder
    • 3
  • A. Ricchetti
    • 4
  • R. Auckenthaler
    • 1
  • F. Terrier
    • 5
  • B. Hirschel
    • 1
  • N. Khaw
    • 5
  • J.-S. Lacroix
    • 4
  • D. Lew
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Infectious Diseases, University Hospital of Geneva, Rue Micheli-du-Crest 24, 1211 Genève 11, Switzerland e-mail: laurent.kaiser@hcuge.ch Tel.: +41-22-3729994 Fax: +41-22-3729990CH
  2. 2.Division of Clinical Epidemiology, University Hospital of Geneva, Geneva, SwitzerlandCH
  3. 3.Department of Community Medicine, University Hospital of Geneva, SwitzerlandCH
  4. 4.Division of Ear Nose and Throat Diseases, University Hospital of Geneva, Geneva, SwitzerlandCH
  5. 5.Division of Radiodiagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University Hospital of Geneva, Geneva, SwitzerlandCH

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