MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Mortensen: The main findings of our study was that for older patients hospitalized with pneumonia that with the use of azithromycin although there is a small increase in the number of non-fatal heart attacks there was a much lower decrease in mortality. In addition there were no other significant increases in cardiac events. So the overall risk:benefit ratio was that for each non-fatal heart attack there were 7 deaths that were prevented.
MedicalResearch: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Mortensen: We were surprised that there was a increase number of heart attacks but still mortality was lower for those who received azithromycin
MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Mortensen: That for patients hospitalized with pneumonia azithromycin should be part of the preferred therapy. Also that for patients who don’t really need antibiotics they should avoid azithromycin due to the increased risk of heart attacks.
MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Mortensen: Future research is needed to examine why azithromycin therapy is associated with this improved survival.
Eric M. Mortensen MD, MSc, Ethan A. Halm MD, MPH, Mary Jo Pugh PhD, Laurel A. Copeland PhD, Mark Metersky MD, Michael J. Fine MD, MSc, Christopher S. Johnson MPH, Carlos A. Alvarez PharmD, MSc, Christopher R. Frei PharmD, MSc, Chester Good MD, Marcos I. Restrepo MD, MSc, John R. Downs MD, Antonio Anzueto MD