Letters to the Editor

Treatment of Streptococcal Pharyngitis



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Am Fam Physician. 2002 Apr 1;65(7):1280.

to the editor: There are three points I would like to make regarding the article1 on streptococcal pharyngitis.

First, the authors attribute azithromycin's “once daily dosing” and “shorter treatment course” to its “extended spectrum.” The duration of therapy and timing of doses are consequences of the pharmacokinetic properties of the compound, not the antimicrobial spectrum. Specifically, the half-life of azithromycin in many tissues is as long as two to four days, resulting in antimicrobial activity for five days or more after a typical five-day course.2

Second, I would take exception to the authors' inclusion of penicillin resistance among the theories for treatment failures. As Bromberg3 notes in the accompanying editorial, resistance to penicillin has not been documented in a clinical setting.4,5

Third, in an era with increasing antibiotic resistance, I would support the authors' proposal of reserving cephalosporins and other, more broad-spectrum antibiotics for treatment failures. The authors cite a study showing a 92 percent bacteriologic cure rate with a cephalosporin compared to 84 percent with penicillin.1 This 8 percent difference translates to needing to treat an average of 12.5 patients with cephalosporin to prevent one penicillin-associated treatment failure.

REFERENCES

1. Hayes CS, Williamson H Jr. Management of group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal pharyngitis. Am Fam Physician. 2001;63:1557–64,1565.

2. Steigbigel NH. Macrolides and clindamycin. In:Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and practice of infectious diseases. 5th ed. Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone, 2000:366–80.

3. Bromberg K. Group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal pharyngitis [Editorial]. Am Fam Physician. 2001;63:1485–93.

4. Pickering LK, ed. 2000 Red book: report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases, 25th ed. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics, 2000:526–36.

5. Pichichero ME. Streptococcal pharyngitis: is penicillin still the right choice? Compr Ther. 1996;22:782–7.

editor's note: This letter was sent to the authors of “Management of Group A Beta-Hemolytic Streptococcal Pharyngitis,” who did not reply.

 

Send letters to Kenneth W. Lin, MD, MPH, Associate Deputy Editor for AFP Online, e-mail: afplet@aafp.org, or 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy., Leawood, KS 66211-2680.

Please include your complete address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Letters should be fewer than 400 words and limited to six references, one table or figure, and three authors.

Letters submitted for publication in AFP must not be submitted to any other publication. Possible conflicts of interest must be disclosed at time of submission. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting the American Academy of Family Physicians permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. The editors may edit letters to meet style and space requirements.



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