Amoxicillin for 3 or 5 days for chest-indrawing pneumonia in Malawian children

Amy Sarah Ginsburg, Tisungane Mvalo, Evangelyn Nkwopara, Eric D. McCollum, Melda Phiri, Robert Schmicker, Jun Hwang, Chifundo B. Ndamala, Ajib Phiri, Norman Lufesi, Susanne May

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND Evidence regarding the appropriate duration of treatment with antibiotic agents in children with pneumonia in low-resource settings in Africa is lacking. METHODS We conducted a double-blind, randomized, controlled, noninferiority trial in Lilongwe, Malawi, to determine whether treatment with amoxicillin for 3 days is less effective than treatment for 5 days in children with chest-indrawing pneumonia (cough lasting <14 days or difficulty breathing, along with visible indrawing of the chest wall with or without fast breathing for age). Children not infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) who were 2 to 59 months of age and had chestindrawing pneumonia were randomly assigned to receive amoxicillin twice daily for either 3 days or 5 days. Children were followed for 14 days. The primary outcome was treatment failure by day 6; noninferiority of the 3-day regimen to the 5-day regimen would be shown if the percentage of children with treatment failure in the 3-day group was no more than 1.5 times that in the 5-day group. Prespecified secondary analyses included assessment of treatment failure or relapse by day 14. RESULTS From March 29, 2016, to April 1, 2019, a total of 3000 children underwent randomization: 1497 children were assigned to the 3-day group, and 1503 to the 5-day group. Among children with day 6 data available, treatment failure had occurred in 5.9% in the 3-day group (85 of 1442 children) and in 5.2% (75 of 1456) in the 5-day group (adjusted difference, 0.7 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], -0.9 to 2.4) - a result that satisfied the criterion for noninferiority of the 3-day regimen to the 5-day regimen. Among children with day 14 data available, 176 of 1411 children (12.5%) in the 3-day group and 154 of 1429 (10.8%) in the 5-day group had had treatment failure by day 6 or relapse by day 14 (betweengroup difference, 1.7 percentage points; 95% CI, -0.7 to 4.1). The percentage of children with serious adverse events was similar in the two groups (9.8% in the 3-day group and 8.8% in the 5-day group). CONCLUSIONS In HIV-uninfected Malawian children, treatment with amoxicillin for chest-indrawing pneumonia for 3 days was noninferior to treatment for 5 days. (Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02678195).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages11
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Volume383
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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