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Original Research: COPD |

Comparison of First-Line With Second-Line Antibiotics for Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Bronchitis*: A Metaanalysis of Randomized Controlled Trials FREE TO VIEW

George Dimopoulos, MD, FCCP; Ilias I. Siempos, MD; Ioanna P. Korbila, MD; Katerina G. Manta, MD; Matthew E. Falagas, MD, MSc, DSc
Author and Funding Information

*From the Critical Care Department (Dr. Dimopoulos), “Attikon” University Hospital, Athens, Greece; and Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences (Drs. Siempos, Korbila, Manta, and Falagas), Athens, Greece.

Correspondence to: Matthew E. Falagas, MD, MSc, DSc, Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences (AIBS), 9 Neapoleos St, 151 23 Marousi, Greece; e-mail: m.falagas@aibs.gr



Chest. 2007;132(2):447-455. doi:10.1378/chest.07-0149
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Background: Although acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis (AECBs) are common, there has been no metaanalysis that focused on the optimum regimen.

Methods: To evaluate the comparative effectiveness and safety of first-line antimicrobial agents (ie, amoxicillin, ampicillin, pivampicillin, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, and doxycycline) and second-line antimicrobial agents (ie, amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, macrolides, second-generation or third-generation cephalosporins, and quinolones) for the treatment of patients with AECB, in an era of increasing antimicrobial resistance among the microbes responsible for AECB, we performed a metaanalysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) retrieved through searches of the PubMed and the Cochrane databases.

Results: Twelve RCTs were included in the metaanalysis. First-line antibiotics were associated with lower treatment success compared to second-line antibiotics in the clinically evaluable patients (odds ratio [OR], 0.51; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.34 to 0.75). There were no differences among the compared regimens regarding mortality (OR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.25 to 1.66) or treatment success (OR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.22 to 1.43) in microbiologically evaluable patients, or adverse effects in general (OR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.39 to 1.45) or diarrhea in particular (OR, 1.58; 95% CI, 0.74 to 3.35).

Conclusions: Compared to first-line antibiotics, second-line antibiotics are more effective, but not less safe, when administered to patients with AECB. The available data did not allow for stratified analyses according to the presence of risk factors for poor outcome, such as increased age, impaired lung function, airway obstruction, and frequency of exacerbations; this fact should be taken into consideration when interpreting the findings of this metaanalysis.

Figures in this Article

Patients with chronic bronchitis (CB) consume a large number of antimicrobial agents for the management of exacerbations of their disease.12 An antimicrobial agent administered for the treatment of acute exacerbations of CB (AECBs) should have significant in vitro activity against the pathogens more frequently implicated in AECBs (ie, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Moraxella catarrhalis), good penetration into sputum and bronchial mucosa, as well as minimal adverse effects.5 Adherence to therapy and cost-effectiveness67 should also be taken into consideration.

Traditionally, amoxicillin, ampicillin, doxycycline, or trimethoprim (TMP)/sulfamethoxazole (SMX) have been considered for the treatment of patients with AECBs. However, given the increasing resistance of S pneumoniae and H influenzae to these older antimicrobial agents, the authors of the Canadian guidelines for the management of AECBs8stated that therapy with selected second-generation or third-generation cephalosporins or macrolides may be preferable for this patient population. In addition, in light of the recognition that relatively resistant bacterial species, including P aeruginosa, may be the etiologic agents of AECBs, especially among patients with significant impairment of lung function,9 some investigators1011 have advocated the administration of even more potent broad-spectrum antibiotics (eg, quinolones) for the treatment of, at least, this subgroup of CB patients.

As the accumulated evidence regarding the emerging antimicrobial resistance among the microbes responsible for AECBs have forced a reexamination of antimicrobial choices, we sought to evaluate the potential superiority, if there is one, of the second-line antimicrobial agents compared to the first-line antimicrobial agents regarding effectiveness and safety for the treatment of patients with AECBs.

Literature Search

To identify the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that were appropriate for inclusion in the metaanalysis, we conducted a systematic search of the PubMed and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. We used the following search terms: “acute exacerbations”; “COPD”; and “chronic bronchitis” combined with “amoxicillin,” “clavulanic acid,” “ampicillin,” “sulfamethoxazole,” “trimethoprim”, “doxycycline,” “quinolones,” “macrolides,” “Haemophilus influenzae,” “Moraxella catarrhalis,” and “Streptococcus pneumoniae.” The reference lists of all retrieved articles were reviewed as well. The search was limited to articles written in English, French, and German.

Study Selection and Data Extraction

Two reviewers (IPK and KGM) independently searched the aforementioned databases to identify potentially eligible trials. To be included in our analysis, a trial had to be an RCT, and to focus on the comparison of the effectiveness and/or toxicity between a first-line antibiotic and a second-line (advanced) antibiotic.

From each of the selected studies, the following data were extracted: year of publication; study design; patient population; dosage and duration of antimicrobial treatment as well as treatment success in the intention-to-treat (ITT), the clinically evaluable (CE), and the microbiologically evaluable (ME) patients; all-cause mortality; and toxicity (ie, any adverse effect, diarrhea, and the number of patients who were withdrawn from the RCTs due to drug-related adverse effects). In addition, the methodological quality of the RCTs included in the analysis was assessed according to a modified Jadad score.12 In detail, the existence of randomization, blinding, and information on withdrawals in each RCT was examined, and the appropriateness of randomization and blinding, if present, was evaluated. One point was awarded for the presence of each of the first three criteria, whereas the last two criteria could take the values of −1 (inappropriate), 0 (no data), and + 1 (appropriate). Thus, the maximum score for a study was 5, and a score ≥ 3 points denoted a good-quality RCT.

Definitions
First-Line and Second-Line Antibiotics:

Amoxicillin, ampicillin, pivampicillin, TMP/SMX, and doxycycline were considered to be first-line antibiotics for the management of patients with AECB. On the other hand, amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, macrolides (ie, roxithromycin, clarithromycin, and azithromycin), second-generation or third-generation cephalosporins (ie, cefaclor), and quinolones were considered to be advanced or second-line antibiotics for this indication according to published guidelines.8,13

CB and AECB:

The diagnosis of CB in all RCTs included in this metaanalysis was based on the history of cough and expectoration on most days during a period of at least 3 consecutive months for 2 consecutive years, as the authors stated. We classified AECBs according to the criteria of Anthonisen et al,14 based on the information provided by the investigators. The exacerbation classified as type I by Anthonisen et al14 met all three of the following criteria: increases in amount of sputum; purulence of sputum; and dyspnea. Type II met two of the above three criteria, and type III met only one criterion.14

Outcomes of This Metaanalysis:

Treatment success (defined as remission of all baseline symptoms of acute infection [clinical cure] or amelioration of symptoms without their complete disappearance [improvement]) in both ITT and CE patients and adverse effects probably or possibly related to study antibiotics were considered as outcome measures for this metaanalysis. In addition, all-cause mortality in the ITT population during the study period, the number of patients who experienced diarrhea or were withdrawn from the RCTs due to drug-related adverse effects, treatment success in ME patients (ie, the absence of a baseline pathogen or the absence of adequate culturable material from a patient exhibiting clinical cure or improvement), and pathogen eradication (documented or presumed) of H influenzae, M catarrhalis, and S pneumoniae isolates were also regarded as outcomes for this metaanalysis.

Statistical Analysis

Statistical analyses were performed using a statistical software package (S-PLUS, version 6.1; Insightful Corp; Seattle, WA). Using a χ2 test, we assessed the heterogeneity among RCTs. Publication bias was assessed by the funnel plot method using the test of Egger et al.15Pooled odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for all primary and secondary outcomes were calculated by using both the Mantel-Haenszel fixed effects model (FEM)16and the DerSimonian-Laird17 random-effects models (REMs). For all analyses, results from the FEM are presented only when there was no statistically significant heterogeneity among RCTs; otherwise, results from the REM are presented.

Selected Studies

This metaanalysis was performed in accordance with the QUOROM statement.18Figure 1 displays the process of identifying the relevant articles. Of the 177 articles that were initially retrieved, 80 were excluded due to reasons presented in Figure 1. In addition, 35 RCTs were omitted because they regarded the comparison of antibiotics that are not commonly used today or were withdrawn from the market for the treatment of AECBs. Also, 25 RCTs were excluded because they compared first-line antibiotics, and another 25 RCTs were excluded because they compared advanced antibiotics. At last, 12 RCTs30 that compared pivampicillin with amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (n = 1),28 TMP/SMX with cefaclor (n = 1),30 penicillins with macrolides (n = 5),19,2326 quinolones (n = 2),2021 or cephalosporins (n = 2),27,29 and doxycycline with roxithromycin (n = 1)22 were eligible for evaluation.

The main characteristics of the 12 selected RCTs, which enrolled 2,261 adult patients, are presented in Table 1 . The mean quality score of these RCTs was 3.3 (range, 1 to 5); 10 of them1922,2426,2830 had a quality score of ≥ 3. Nine RCTs2022,2427,2930 were double-blinded, and three RCTs19,23,28 were single-blinded. Most RCTs included a mixed population of both inpatients and outpatients. Information on the use of systemic corticosteroids before AECBs was given in three trials,2122,26 while demographic information (ie, mean age and sex) related to the patients included in the eligible RCTs is depicted in Table 1.

Treatment Success and Mortality

Data regarding treatment success in ITT patients were provided in only 2 RCTs24,30 of the 12 eligible RCTs, as shown in Table 2 . Data on treatment success for the CE patients were available for all 12 selected RCTs.,1930 First-line antibiotics were less effective than second-line antibiotics (treatment success, 1,145 CE patients; OR, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.34 to 0.75; FEM). The ORs for the treatment success of the compared antibiotics for the CE patients in the individual RCTs, as well as the pooled ORs, are presented in Figure 2 , top left, A. The result did not substantially change when 10 high-quality RCTs,1922,2426,2830 were put in a sensitivity analysis (997 CE patients; OR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.30 to 0.70; FEM) as well as after the exclusion of the trial that provided the larger number of patients included in this metaanalysis21 (864 CE patients; OR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.33 to 0.84; FEM). This was also the case for the subgroup analyses that included only the double-blinded RCTs (1,465 CE patients; OR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.37 to 0.89; FEM [data from nine trials2022,2427,2930]), only the single-blinded RCTs (796 CE patients; OR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.16 to 0.81 [data from three trials19,23,28]), or the RCTs published after 1991 (1,287 CE patients; OR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.29 to 0.73 [data from six trials1924]), but not for the analysis of the RCTs published before 1991 (974 CE patients; OR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.38 to 1.69 [data from six trials2530]). The analysis of the data on all-cause mortality during the study period showed no differences among the regimens compared (1,392 ITT patients; OR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.25 to 1.66; FEM [data from five trials21,2628,30]) [Fig 2, top right, B].

Adverse Effects

Regarding the drug-related adverse events (1,619 ITT patients; OR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.39 to 1.45; REM [data from eight trials1923,2526,30] [Fig 2, bottom left, C]) and study withdrawal due to drug-related adverse effects (1,166 ITT patients; OR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.35 to 1.06; FEM [data from five trials,1922,30]), there were no differences among the studied regimens. Neither were there any differences among patients receiving first-line or second-line antibiotics concerning diarrhea (554 ITT patients; OR, 1.58; 95% CI, 0.74 to 3.35; FEM [data from five trials19,23,25,27,30]). Adverse effects other than diarrhea commonly caused by first-line agents were nausea (four trials19,2123), abdominal pain, vomiting, disorders of the CNS, and skin rashes (in one trial each). On the other hand, second-line agents were frequently associated with nausea (four trials2021,23,25), abdominal pain (two trials19,22), vomiting, insomnia, and dizziness (in one trial each).

Microbiological Outcomes

Table 3 depicts the microbiological outcomes of nine RCTs1923,2527,30 that provided relevant data. There were no differences among the groups compared with regard to treatment success in the ME populations (ie, in the proportion of patients from whom the causative pathogen was not isolated after treatment among those patients from whom this pathogen was initially isolated; 638 ME patients; OR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.22 to 1.43; REM) [Fig 2, bottom right, D]. Data on the eradication rates of the three most common pathogens isolated at baseline (ie, H influenzae, M catarrhalis, and S pneumoniae) were reported in seven of the eligible RCTs.,2021,2326,30 Treating patients with first-line antibiotics as opposed to second-line antibiotics was not associated with lower eradication rates of H influenzae (241 isolates; OR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.29 to 1.29; FEM), M catarrhalis (98 isolates; OR, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.07 to 1.53; FEM), or S pneumoniae (137 isolates; OR, 1.86; 95% CI, 0.67 to 5.20; FEM).

Subgroup Analyses

We analyzed treatment success in CE patients in trials comparing penicillins (ie, amoxicillin, ampicillin, and pivampicillin) to second-line antibiotics (ie, macrolides, quinolones, amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, and cephalosporins); penicillins were less effective than comparators (943 CE patients; OR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.30 to 0.72; FEM [data from nine trials1921,2327,29]). Penicillins also proved to be associated with lower treatment success in the ME population (610 ME patients; OR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.20 to 0.60; FEM [data from seven trials1921,23,2527]). With regard to mortality21,2627 as well as the drug-related adverse events in general,1921,23,2526 and diarrhea in particular,19,23,25,27 and withdrawals due to adverse events,1921 no differences were found among the groups compared in this subgroup analysis (data not shown). The treatment of patients with penicillins was not associated with lower eradication rates of H influenzae, M catarrhalis, or S pneumoniae,2021,2326 (data not shown).

In another subgroup analysis of trials comparing penicillins to macrolides, treatment success in CE patients was accomplished less commonly by penicillins (489 CE patients; OR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.17 to 0.75; FEM [data from five trials19,2326]). In this subset of patients, there were no differences regarding any adverse effects,19,23,2526 or diarrhea specifically,19,23,25 treatment success in ME patients,19,23,2526 or eradication rates of H influenzae, M catarrhalis, or S pneumoniae,2326 (data not shown).

Finally, two subgroup analyses were conducted by including the six RCTs that enrolled hospitalized patients2021,24,27,2930 and the four RCTs that enrolled only ambulatory patients.19,23,2526 Again, the effectiveness of old antimicrobial agents (540 CE patients; OR, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.33 to 0.90; FEM [data from six trials2021,24,27,2930]) as opposed to advanced antimicrobial agents (439 CE patients; OR, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.19 to 0.90; REM [data from four trials19,23,2526]) for the treatment of CE patients with AECBs was found to be lower in both of these analyses.

The results of this metaanalysis suggest that the administration of first-line antimicrobial agents to CE patients with AECBs was associated with lower treatment success compared to the administration of second-line agents. However, no differences were found among the compared regimens with regard to mortality, microbiological outcomes (ie, treatment success in ME patients and pathogen eradication of most common pathogens in patients with AECBs), and safety (ie, drug-related adverse effects in general, diarrhea, or study withdrawals due to adverse effects).

The observed clinical advantage of the second-line antibiotics should be very carefully interpreted in light of issues related to the design of the RCTs included in this metaanalysis, concerning mainly the characteristics of the patients who were included in the RCTs. Specifically, the selected RCTs did not provide adequate clinical information on whether the enrolled AECB patients had or did not have risk factors for poor outcome (ie, age > 65 years, FEV1 < 50% predicted at baseline, more than three AECBs in the previous year, or comorbid illness [especially cardiac disease]).8 In patients with the above characteristics, aggressive therapy with second-line antimicrobial agents may be more appropriate than therapy with first-line agents.3132 Note that at least half of the selected RCTs2021,24,27,2930 enrolled hospitalized patients along with or without outpatients. It is more likely that inpatients experience a higher degree of pulmonary impairment and comorbidities, and, thus, their management requires the administration of advanced antibiotics.

It is interesting that the superiority of the advanced antimicrobial agents over the older agents regarding treatment success in CE patients with AECBs was maintained in the various subanalyses that we performed. In detail, advanced antibiotics were found to have higher treatment success than comparators even after the exclusion of the RCT21 that provided the largest number of patients included in this metaanalysis. This was also the case in the sensitivity analysis of RCTs with high methodological quality scores1922,2426,2830 as well as in the subgroup analyses that included only the double-blinded RCTs2022,2427,2930 or the RCTs published after 1991.1924 It is noteworthy that in the analysis of the RCTs published before 1991,2530 no difference was found between advanced regimens and old regimens regarding effectiveness, a finding that is presumably explained by the lack of resistance of pathogens toward both advanced and old antibiotics in that time period.

One might postulate that the findings of the present metaanalysis seem to contravene the attempt to preserve new antibiotics and to prevent further development of resistance in an era of increasing incidence of multi-drug-resistant bacteria. However, the scope of our contribution was only to estimate the differences among the administered antimicrobial agents for a group of patients who need antimicrobial therapy. Besides, treatment directed toward resistant pathogens with adequately effective antimicrobial agents is presumably expected to prevent a lack of response to therapy and, therefore, to avoid prolonged hospitalization and repeated courses of antibiotics.1,33 Finally, although not examined in this study, it seems plausible that the emergence of resistance may be successfully limited by avoidance of the administration of antibiotics in patients with Anthonisen type III (mild) AECBs.13

This metaanalysis has substantial limitations. First, we acknowledge as a major limitation the fact that the eligible RCTs did not stratify patients according to the existence of the previously outlined risk factors for poor outcome (eg, age, degree of pulmonary impairment and airway obstruction, and frequency of exacerbations), and, moreover, some of them enrolled both inpatients and outpatients. However, no substantially different results were produced regarding treatment effectiveness in the subsets of RCTs that included hospitalized patients or enrolled only ambulatory patients. Second, we grouped different classes of antimicrobial agents (ie, amoxicillin, ampicillin, TMP/SMX, and doxycycline in the group of first-line agents, and amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, macrolides, cefaclor, and quinolones in the group of second-line agents) with different in vitro activity against the most common pathogens that cause AECBs and, thus, possibly with different effectiveness. However, TMP/SMX (which is not recommended any more for the management of patients with AECBs, according to the relevant European guidelines13) and doxycycline were compared to a second-line antibiotic in only one RCT each. Besides, in a very recent metaanalysis34 of RCTs comparing macrolides, quinolones, and amoxicillin/clavulanic acid for the treatment of patients with AECBs, no difference was revealed among these second-line agents regarding effectiveness. Third, the scarcity of specific data with regard to treatment success in ITT patients did not allow us to pool them; in fact, only two RCTs24,30 provided such information.

Fourth, we did not evaluate other interesting outcomes, such as AECB-free interval and time to recovery, due to lack of available relevant evidence. Fifth, no data were available on the eradication of pathogens other than S pneumoniae, H influenzae, and M catarrhalis, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which may also be the cause of AECBs. Sixth, no information was provided regarding the emergence of Clostridium difficile acquisition in patients receiving antimicrobial agents for the treatment of AECBs. Seventh, the fact that the included RCTs were conducted in different time periods, in which significant changes in the pathogens and the patterns of resistance took place, may also impact the outcomes of this metaanalysis. In an attempt to address this issue, we conducted two subgroup analyses by including the trials published before and after 1991. In addition, one may support the idea that a metaanalytic approach other than the present one, comparing penicillins with all other antimicrobial agents for the management of patients with AECBs, would also be of value. Indeed, provided the β-lactamase production in H influenzae and M catarrhalis, as well as the high level β-lactam resistance in several strains of S pneumoniae, penicillins might not be expected to be as effective as other antibiotics for this purpose. Finally, a comparison of second-line and first-line antibiotics regarding cost-effectiveness was out of the scope of this metaanalysis.

In conclusion, second-line antimicrobial agents appear to be more effective than first-line antimicrobial agents for the management of patients with AECBs. This finding provides further support to the suggestion by some experts that advanced antibiotics are preferable to the old antibiotics for this purpose when the administration of antimicrobial agents is recommended.

Abbreviations: AECB = acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis; CB = chronic bronchitis; CE = clinically evaluable; CI = confidence interval; FEM = fixed-effects model; ITT = intention to treat; ME = microbiologically evaluable; OR = odds ratio; RCT = randomized controlled trial; REM = random-effects model; SMX = sulfamethoxazole; TMP = trimethoprim

The authors have reported to the ACCP that no significant conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Table Graphic Jump Location
Table 1. Main Characteristics of RCTs Included in the Metaanalysis*
* 

All study antibiotics were administered orally. The use of antimicrobial agents other than those studied was not allowed. MC = multicenter; SB = single-blind; DB = double-blind; NA = not applicable.

 

Values are reported for patients receiving first-line antimicrobial agents vs patients receiving second-line antimicrobial agents.

 

According to a modified Jadad score.

§ 

The data did not allow us to classify AECBs according to the Anthonisen criteria.

Table Graphic Jump Location
Table 2. Outcome Data From the Selected RCTs for the Metaanalysis*
* 

Values are given as the No. of patients treated/total No. of patients in the group (%) for patients receiving first-line antimicrobial agents vs those receiving second-line antimicrobial agents. TOCV = test-of-cure visit (1 to 7 days after the end of treatment). See Table 1 for abbreviation not used in the text.

Figure Jump LinkFigure 2. ORs of the outcomes of individual RCTs comparing first-line and second-line antibiotics for the treatment of patients with AECBs and the pooled analysis. Top left, A: treatment success in CE patients. Top right, B: all-cause mortality. Bottom left, C: total adverse effects. Bottom right, D: treatment success in ME patients. Vertical line = “no difference” point between the two regimens; square = OR (the size of each square denotes the proportion of information given by each trial); diamond = pooled ORs for all RCTs; horizontal lines = 95% CI.Grahic Jump Location
Table Graphic Jump Location
Table 3. Microbiological Outcomes From the Selected RCTs for the Metaanalysis*
* 

See Table 1 for abbreviation not used in the text.

 

Values are given as the No. of patients in whom the specified outcome occurred/total No. of patients in the group (%) for patients receiving first-line antimicrobial agents vs those receiving second-line antimicrobial agents.

 

Values are given as the No. of isolates eradicated/total No. of isolates for each microbe (%) in patients receiving first-line antimicrobial agents vs those receiving second-line antimicrobial agents.

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Figures

Figure Jump LinkFigure 2. ORs of the outcomes of individual RCTs comparing first-line and second-line antibiotics for the treatment of patients with AECBs and the pooled analysis. Top left, A: treatment success in CE patients. Top right, B: all-cause mortality. Bottom left, C: total adverse effects. Bottom right, D: treatment success in ME patients. Vertical line = “no difference” point between the two regimens; square = OR (the size of each square denotes the proportion of information given by each trial); diamond = pooled ORs for all RCTs; horizontal lines = 95% CI.Grahic Jump Location

Tables

Table Graphic Jump Location
Table 1. Main Characteristics of RCTs Included in the Metaanalysis*
* 

All study antibiotics were administered orally. The use of antimicrobial agents other than those studied was not allowed. MC = multicenter; SB = single-blind; DB = double-blind; NA = not applicable.

 

Values are reported for patients receiving first-line antimicrobial agents vs patients receiving second-line antimicrobial agents.

 

According to a modified Jadad score.

§ 

The data did not allow us to classify AECBs according to the Anthonisen criteria.

Table Graphic Jump Location
Table 2. Outcome Data From the Selected RCTs for the Metaanalysis*
* 

Values are given as the No. of patients treated/total No. of patients in the group (%) for patients receiving first-line antimicrobial agents vs those receiving second-line antimicrobial agents. TOCV = test-of-cure visit (1 to 7 days after the end of treatment). See Table 1 for abbreviation not used in the text.

Table Graphic Jump Location
Table 3. Microbiological Outcomes From the Selected RCTs for the Metaanalysis*
* 

See Table 1 for abbreviation not used in the text.

 

Values are given as the No. of patients in whom the specified outcome occurred/total No. of patients in the group (%) for patients receiving first-line antimicrobial agents vs those receiving second-line antimicrobial agents.

 

Values are given as the No. of isolates eradicated/total No. of isolates for each microbe (%) in patients receiving first-line antimicrobial agents vs those receiving second-line antimicrobial agents.

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