Researchers led by Dr Richard Albert of the University of Colorado suggest that a daily dose of antibiotic azithromycin can go a long way in reducing the risk of flare-ups in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
More than 1,100 people took part in the study, all of whom were over 40 years of age and were diagnosed with advanced COPD. The participants were randomly divided into two groups, one receiving 250mg of azithromycin every day and the second group being given placebo pills.
At the end of one year, the researchers found that those who took daily dose of azithromycin were 27 percent less likely to experience an exacerbation, with the group experience an average of 1.48 exacerbations over the study period compared to 1.83 exacerbations in the second group.
"We tested whether adding azithromycin to standard therapy would decrease COPD exacerbations, and it did. It was associated with some side effects, but we thought the side effects were limited and the potential benefits for patients with COPD, in our opinion, outweighed the potential risks", Dr Albert said.