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To compare the effectiveness and toxicity of semisynthetic penicillins (SSPs) (amoxicillin, ampicillin, pivampicillin) and trimethoprim-based regimens (trimethoprim, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim-sulfadiazine) in treating acute bacterial exacerbations of chronic bronchitis (ABECB). We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Current Contents, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials to identify and extract data from relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Only RCTs comparing penicillins with trimethoprim-based regimens for the treatment of patients with ABECB that reported data on effectiveness, toxicity, or mortality were considered eligible for this meta-analysis. Out of 134 RCTs identified in the search, 5 RCTs involving 287 patients were included in the analysis. There were no differences between patients with ABECB treated with SSPs and those treated with trimethoprim, alone or in combination with a sulfonamide, in treatment success (intention-to-treat patients: n = 262, odds ratio [OR] 1.68, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.91-3.09; clinically evaluable patients: n = 246, OR 1.59, 95% CI 0.79-3.20) or number of drug-related adverse events in general (n = 186 patients, OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.11-1.24), frequency of diarrhea or skin rashes, or number of withdrawals due to adverse events (n = 179 patients, OR 0.27, 95% CI 0.07-1.03). Based on limited evidence leading to wide CIs of the estimated treatment effects, SSPs and trimethoprim-based regimens seem to be equivalent in terms of effectiveness and toxicity for ABECB.


Ioanna P Korbila, Katerina G Manta, Ilias I Siempos, George Dimopoulos, Matthew E Falagas. Penicillins vs trimethoprim-based regimens for acute bacterial exacerbations of chronic bronchitis: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Canadian family physician Médecin de famille canadien. 2009 Jan;55(1):60-7

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PMID: 19155372

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