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Title: Once weekly azithromycin in secondary prevention of rheumatic fever.
Authors: Gopal, Rakesh
Harikrishnan, S
Sivasankaran, S
Ajithkumar, V K
Titus, T
Tharakan, J M
Keywords: Cardiology
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Indian heart journal
Citation: Indian heart journal. 64; 1; 12-5
Abstract: Rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) are still important problems in developing countries. Secondary prophylaxis which is the most cost-effective method in preventing recurrences of rheumatic fever is fraught with problems of drug compliance. The utility of 500 mg once weekly azithromycin (AZT), an orally effective long-acting antibiotic was evaluated against oral penicillin (phenoxy methyl penicillin 250 mg twice daily) in this study. Forty-eight consecutive patients (44% males, mean age 29.4 years) with established RHD were randomised into two groups-26 patients received AZT and 22 received oral penicillin. Patients were evaluated at randomisation, at 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months, clinically, serologically and by throat swab culture. End points were absence of streptococcal colonisation, infection or fever at the end of 6 months. During the study, 4 patients (15.4%) in the AZT group developed sore throat and fever, had positive throat culture and positive serology indicating streptococcal infection. None satisfied the criteria for rheumatic fever reactivation. None in the oral penicillin group developed streptococcal infection. In conclusion, weekly 500 mg of AZT is not effective in the prevention of streptococcal throat infection compared to oral penicillin therapy in adult patients with established RHD.
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