Study: Azithromycin helps reduce risk of lung damage in children with cystic fibrosis and Pseudomonas infection

Researchers are reporting that combining the antibiotic azithromycin with a widely-used antibiotic treatment used for cystic fibrosis (CF) helps reduce the risk of lung damage in children with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, one of the most common infections in children with CF.  In the randomized trial involving more than 200 children ages 6 months to 18 years with cystic fibrosis and Pseudomonas infection, the risk of respiratory complications was reduced by 44 percent in the children receiving azithromycin combined with tobramycin inhalation solution (TIS) when compared to the placebo group taking TIS alone.

"Azithromycin was associated with a significant reduction in risk of pulmonary exacerbation and sustained improvement in weight but had no impact on microbiologic outcomes in children with early Pa [Pseudomonas aeruginosa]," the authors noted in the research paper.

Researchers stopped the trial early due to demonstration of the efficacy of the combined antibiotic treatment. The trial is called OPTIMIZE, which stands for “OPTIMIZing Treatment for Early Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infection in Cystic Fibrosis.” The study, partly funded by NHLBI, appeared in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.