Kids suffering from pneumonia may no longer have to worry about the doctor's needle, for a new study has found that the less painful oral treatment works just as well as injections.
The first of its kind study by researchers at The University of Nottingham showed that kids children given oral treatment recovered as quickly, suffered less pain, required less oxygen therapy in hospital and were able to go home sooner than those given intravenous (IV) treatment.
The findings suggest that such injections, endured by generations of children, may be unnecessary and could be replaced with oral doses of the medicine in the majority of cases.
As a part of the study the researchers looked over 243 children, enrolled over a 21-month period at eight UK hospitals. Half the kids were randomly assigned to receive a week of oral antibiotic treatment and half to receive antibiotics through injections.
Follow-up over subsequent weeks showed that while both types of treatment are effective in tackling the illness, the former actually had a number of advantages over the latter.
Oral antibiotics are also cheaper than those given via the IV route.
Professor Stephenson said that the findings were certainly good news for all involved - kids, parents and paediatricians.
"This is good news for children who hate injections; good news for parents whose children will spend less time in hospital; good news for paediatricians who hate sticking needles in children and good news for the NHS, as fewer beds will be occupied and the treatment is cheaper," he said.
The researchers suggested that kids in developed countries such as the UK now be treated orally rather than intravenously.
"We suggest that in countries like the UK, all but the sickest children with community-acquired pneumonia should be treated with oral amoxicillin initially," they state.
"We expect that the majority of children will still require hospital admission but for a shorter period, to ensure oral medication is tolerated, and temperature and respiratory distress are settling. Most importantly children will be spared the pain and distress that injections cause," they added.
Funded by the British Lung Foundation, the study has been published online in the medical journal Thorax.