Short-course antibiotic therapy appears effective for community-acquired pneumonia in young children

Clinical question: 
How effective is short-course (3 days) antibiotic therapy as opposed to a longer course (5 days) for non-severe community-acquired pneumonia in children aged 2 to 59 months?
Bottom line: 
Short-course antibiotic therapy is as effective as longer treatment for non-severe community-acquired pneumonia in children aged from 2 to 5 years. Rates of clinical cure, treatment failure and relapse were similar in both groups. Different durations of either amoxicillin or cotrimoxazole gave similar results.
These findings should be interpreted with caution as they are limited by the small number of studies available on the topic.
Pneumonia is the leading cause of mortality in children younger than 5 years. The recommended duration of treatment ranges between 7 and 14 days, but this is not based on empirical evidence. A shorter duration of therapy, if found to be effective, could be particularly important in resource-poor settings where there is a high risk of death, poor access to medicines and health care, and limited budgets for medicines.
Review CD#: 
August, 2008
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy