Antibiotic dosage in trachoma control programs: Height as a surrogate for weight in children

Beatriz Muñoz, Anthony W. Solomon, James Zingeser, Rachel Barwick, Matthew Burton, Robin Bailey, David Mabey, Allen Foster, Sheila K. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE. National programs for trachoma control are implementing mass treatment programs in which azithromycin is used as part of the control strategy. Dose is determined by weight, which can be difficult to determine in field conditions. The purposes of this study were to determine whether an accurate dose could be determined by using height as a surrogate for weight and whether a single model of height-based dosage would be applicable in more than one setting. METHODS. Data on height, weight, age, and gender of 5558 children aged 6 months to 15 years were obtained from Kongwa and Rombo, Tanzania; Malakal, Sudan; Jareng, The Gambia; and Daboya, Ghana. Models for predicting weight by measuring height were developed that incorporated countryspecific parameters. Doses of azithromycin assumed suspension of 40 mg/mL and 250-mg tablets that could be halved. Tolerance limits were defined as 15 to 30 mg/kg. RESULTS. A regression model, predicting log weight as a function of log height, was the best fit and explained 94% of the variance. In children less than 1 year of age or 60 cm in height, dose determined by weight was preferred. Dosage by height resulted in more than 97% of children receiving doses within the tolerance limits. Children aged 1 to 2 years were the group most likely to be over- or undermedicated, but this occurred in only 6% of this age group. CONCLUSIONS. Height-based determination of dosage of azithromycin in trachoma control programs appears to be feasible, using the height-based schedule proposed. One model was adequate for all the countries in the study. Further expansion to other countries is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1464-1469
Number of pages6
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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