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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Chloramphenicol versus benzylpenicillin and gentamicin for the treatment of severe pneumonia in children in Papua New Guinea: a randomised trial.

BACKGROUND: Pneumonia is the most frequent cause of child mortality in less-developed countries. We aimed to establish whether the combination of benzylpenicillin and gentamicin or chloramphenicol would be better as first-line treatment in children with severe pneumonia in Papua New Guinea. METHODS: We did an open randomised trial in which we enrolled children aged 1 month to 5 years of age who fulfilled the WHO criteria for very severe pneumonia and who presented to hospitals in two provinces. Children were randomly assigned to receive chloramphenicol (25 mg/kg 6 hourly) or benzylpenicillin (50 mg/kg 6 hourly) plus gentamicin (7.5 mg/kg daily) by intramuscular injection. The primary outcome measure was a good or an adverse outcome. FINDINGS: 1116 children were enrolled; 559 children were treated with chloramphenicol and 557 with benzylpenicillin and gentamicin. At presentation the median haemoglobin oxygen saturation was 71% (IQR 57-77) for those allocated chloramphenicol and 69% (55-77) for those allocated penicillin and gentamicin. 147 (26%) children treated with chloramphenicol and 123 (22%) treated with penicillin and gentamicin had adverse outcomes (p=0.11). 36 children treated with chloramphenicol and 29 treated with penicillin and gentamicin died. More children treated with chloramphenicol than penicillin and gentamicin represented with severe pneumonia within 1 month of hospital discharge (p=0.03). INTERPRETATION: For children with severe pneumonia in less-developed countries the probability of a good outcome is similar if treated with chloramphenicol or with the combination of benzylpenicillin and gentamicin.[1]


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