Doctors to study shorter-duration antibiotics for kids

Physicians at five medical centers are launching a clinical trial to determine whether a five-day course of antibiotics – rather than 10 days – is effective at treating community-acquired pneumonia in children.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is sponsoring the trial.

Community-acquired pneumonia is a potentially serious lung infection in young children that often leads to hospitalization, according to the National Institutes of Health. The current standard of first-line treatment for young children with community-acquired pneumonia is a 10-day course of the antibiotic amoxicillin, according to NIH.

“This study aims to determine whether we can effectively treat young children for community-acquired pneumonia with a shorter course of antibiotic therapy than is currently the standard,” said NIAID Director Dr. Anthony S. Fauci in a news release. “Using only the amount of medication that is needed — and no more — not only is good for patients but could also help conserve the long-term effectiveness of available drugs.”

The clinical study will enroll kids ages 6 months to 71 months (about 6 years) diagnosed with community-acquired pneumonia who were initially treated in outpatient clinics, urgent care centers and emergency departments and have clinically improved prior to enrollment.

The trial, which is set to end in March 2019, will evaluate short courses of three oral antibiotics: amoxicillin, amoxicillin-clavulanate combination, and cefdinir.

In the trial, 200 kids will receive the standard 10-day course of antibiotics and 200 kids will receive the shorter course.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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