Why Would Anyone Take an Antibiotic for Asthma?

Although I'm not opposed to all uses of antibiotics, I believe patients have been harmed far more often by them than they've been helped. In fact, it's been my experience antibiotics are used inappropriately well over 95 percent of the time. So why would you ever take one to treat your asthma?

That's the gist of my objections about vaccine-maker Sanofi-Aventis' latest antibiotic drug -- telithromycin (brand name Ketek) -- for treating asthma. If you read some reports, however, you may be led to believe telithromycin is helpful, according to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Patients taking telithromycin enjoyed twice the improvement in asthma symptoms compared to those taking a placebo, and recovered much sooner too. On the flip side, this study, funded by the very same drugmaker, found the breathing capacity of asthmatic patients didn't improve over the long haul. And, patients suffered more frequent bouts of nausea too.

Makes you wonder if Sanofi-Aventis was trying to squeeze one more "effective" use out of the drug, considering it's come under more scrutiny lately after reports of liver poisoning.

Before you even consider an antibiotics for asthma, you'll want to read a study I posted two weeks ago about tripling a baby's future asthma risks because of them. In fact, taking a drug is nothing more than a potentially toxic Band-Aid that never gets to the real heart of the problem.

New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 354, No. 15, April 13, 2006: 1589-1600

The Age April 16, 2006

Canada.com April 15, 2006

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