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.
Caveat: 
These findings should be interpreted with caution as they are limited by the small number of studies available on the topic.
Context: 
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#: 
CD005976
PEARLS No: 
86
Date: 
August, 2008
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy