Cefuroxime for empiric treatment of community-acquired pneumococcal pneumonia: is there a generation gap?Chemotherapy. 2009; 55(2):97-104.C
Streptococcus pneumoniae infection is an important cause of morbidity and mortality. The recommendations to use expanded-spectrum beta-lactam drugs for patients with community-acquired pneumonia derived from the growing prevalence of penicillin-resistant pneumococci. Controversy exists regarding the use of second generation cephalosporins for empirical treatment of community-acquired pneumonia.
In a retrospective study, 31 adult patients with pneumococcal pneumonia and bacteremia caused by S. pneumoniae that was intermediately resistant to penicillin were compared with 31 control patients with similar infection caused by penicillin-susceptible pneumococci. All patients were treated empirically with cefuroxime, alone or in combination with other antibiotics. Morbidity and mortality were studied.
All unsusceptible pneumococci isolates were intermediately resistant to penicillin. No cases of fully resistant pneumococci were isolated from blood cultures in our hospital. Two factors were significantly associated with non-susceptibility to penicillin: hematologic malignancy and immunosuppression. No significant difference in morbidity or mortality was detected between the 2 groups, and penicillin minimum inhibitory concentration was not found to be a factor associated with mortality.
Patients with pneumococcal pneumonia caused by intermediately resistant pneumococci can be empirically treated with cefuroxime. In regions where fully resistant pneumococci are rare, the use of a second generation cephalosporin for empiric treatment of community-acquired pneumonia may be appropriate.