Azithromycin for treating uncomplicated typhoid and paratyphoid fever (enteric fever) (Review)
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Background Enteric fever (typhoid and paratyphoid fever) is potentially fatal. Infection with drug-resistant strains of the causative organism Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi or Paratyphi increases morbidity and mortality. Azithromycin may have better outcomes in people with uncomplicated forms of the disease. Objectives To compare azithromycin with other antibiotics for treating uncomplicated enteric fever. Search strategy In August 2008, we searched the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group Specialized Register, CENTRAL (The Cochrane Library 2008, Issue 3),MEDLINE, EMBASE, LILACS, andmRCT.We also searched conference proceedings, reference lists, and contacted researchers and a pharmaceutical company. Selection criteria Randomized controlled trials comparing azithromycin with other antibiotics for treating children and adults with uncomplicated enteric fever confirmed by cultures of S. Typhi or Paratyphi in blood and/or stool. Data collection and analysis Both authors independently extracted data and assessed the risk of bias. Dichotomous data were presented and compared using the odds ratio, and continuous data were reported as arithmetic means with standard deviations and were combined using the mean difference (MD). Both were presented with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Main results Seven trials involving 773 participants met the inclusion criteria. The trials used adequate methods to generate the allocation sequence and conceal allocation, and were open label. Three trials exclusively included adults, two included children, and two included both adults and children; all were hospital inpatients. One trial evaluated azithromycin against chloramphenicol and did not demonstrate a difference for any outcome (77 participants, 1 trial). When compared with fluoroquinolones in four trials, azithromycin significantly reduced clinical failure (OR 0.48, 95% CI 0.26 to 0.89; 564 participants, 4 trials) and duration of hospital stay (MD -1.04 days, 95% CI -1.73 to -0.34 days; 213 participants, 2 trials); all four trials included people with multiple-drug-resistant or nalidixic acid-resistant strains of S. Typhi or S. Paratyphi.We detected no statistically significant difference in the other outcomes. Compared with ceftriaxone, azithromycin significantly reduced relapse (OR 0.09, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.70; 132 participants, 2 trials) and not other outcome measures. Few adverse events were reported, and most were mild and self limiting. Authors’ conclusions Azithromycin appears better than fluoroquinolone drugs in populations that included participants with drug-resistant strains. Azithromycin may perform better than ceftriaxone.