Study objectives: To demonstrate equivalence in the clinical efficacy of telithromycin vs clarithromycin treatment of outpatients with acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis (AECB), and to compare the tolerability and respiratory-related health-care resource utilization associated with these treatment regimens.
Design and patients: A randomized, double-blind, multicenter, clinical study was conducted at 105 centers in 14 countries. Adult outpatients (age ≥ 30 years) received oral telithromycin, 800 mg qd for 5 days (n = 270), or oral clarithromycin, 500 mg bid for 10 days (n = 282), for the treatment of AECB. Clinical and bacteriologic outcomes were assessed at the posttherapy/test-of-cure (TOC) visit (days 17 to 24; per-protocol population). Health-care resource utilization data were collected for each patient by investigators blinded to study medication up to the late posttherapy visit (days 31 to 36).
Results: Clinical cure rates at the posttherapy/TOC visit were comparable between the groups (telithromycin, 193 of 225 patients [85.8%]; clarithromycin, 206 of 231 patients [89.2%]); bacteriologic outcome was satisfactory for 59 of 72 telithromycin-treated patients (81.9%) vs 63 of 76 clarithromycin-treated patients (82.9%). Health-care resource utilization assessed up to the late posttherapy visit was lower in the telithromycin treatment group than the clarithromycin treatment group, with significantly fewer hospitalizations for respiratory-related causes (one hospitalization vs eight hospitalizations for a total of 4 inpatient days vs 39 inpatient days, respectively), significantly fewer AECB-related emergency department visits (0 vs 8), and fewer unscheduled outpatient visits (11 vs 18). Fewer telithromycin-treated patients reported days lost from work (21 of 91 patients [23.1%]; 133 days) compared with those receiving clarithromycin (30 of 98 patients [30.6%]; 141 days). Telithromycin was well tolerated; adverse events considered possibly related to study medication were reported by 61 of 269 patients (22.7%) and 100 of 280 patients (35.7%) receiving telithromycin and clarithromycin, respectively.
Conclusions: In this study, 5-day telithromycin treatment was as effective and well tolerated as 10-day clarithromycin treatment for patients with AECB, and was associated with a reduced utilization of health-care resources.