Cochrane Summaries

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Giving antibiotics regularly to people with cystic fibrosis to prevent infection with a germ called Staphylococcus aureus

Smyth AR, Walters S
Published Online: 
12 December 2012

Cystic fibrosis blocks the airways with mucus and causes frequent airway infections. These can lead to death from breathing failure. People with cystic fibrosis are sometimes given regular antibiotics to prevent infections from a germ called Staphylococcus aureus. However, antibiotics can also have adverse effects. The review includes four studies with 401 participants. All the studies were in children and were of variable quality. The review found some evidence that giving regular antibiotics to young children (continued up to six years of age) leads to less infection with Staphylococcus aureus. The studies showed no differences between giving regular antibiotics or not in other outcomes in the review. No study lasted longer than six years, so we can draw no conclusions about long-term use. No study enrolled adults, so we can not comment on the use of these drugs in adults. Future research should look at antibiotic resistance patterns and patient survival.