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Macrolide antibiotics for bronchiectasis

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, March 2018
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (96th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (87th percentile)

Mentioned by

4 news outlets
57 tweeters
2 Facebook pages


40 Dimensions

Readers on

162 Mendeley
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Macrolide antibiotics for bronchiectasis
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, March 2018
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd012406.pub2
Pubmed ID

Carol Kelly, James D Chalmers, Iain Crossingham, Nicola Relph, Lambert M Felix, David J Evans, Stephen J Milan, Sally Spencer


Bronchiectasis is a chronic respiratory disease characterised by abnormal and irreversible dilatation and distortion of the smaller airways. Bacterial colonisation of the damaged airways leads to chronic cough and sputum production, often with breathlessness and further structural damage to the airways. Long-term macrolide antibiotic therapy may suppress bacterial infection and reduce inflammation, leading to fewer exacerbations, fewer symptoms, improved lung function, and improved quality of life. Further evidence is required on the efficacy of macrolides in terms of specific bacterial eradication and the extent of antibiotic resistance. To determine the impact of macrolide antibiotics in the treatment of adults and children with bronchiectasis. We identified trials from the Cochrane Airways Trials Register, which contains studies identified through multiple electronic searches and handsearches of other sources. We also searched trial registries and reference lists of primary studies. We conducted all searches on 18 January 2018. We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of at least four weeks' duration that compared macrolide antibiotics with placebo or no intervention for the long-term management of stable bronchiectasis in adults or children with a diagnosis of bronchiectasis by bronchography, plain film chest radiograph, or high-resolution computed tomography. We excluded studies in which participants had received continuous or high-dose antibiotics immediately before enrolment or before a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis, sarcoidosis, or allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. Our primary outcomes were exacerbation, hospitalisation, and serious adverse events. Two review authors independently screened the titles and abstracts of 103 records. We independently screened the full text of 40 study reports and included 15 trials from 30 reports. Two review authors independently extracted outcome data and assessed risk of bias for each study. We analysed dichotomous data as odds ratios (ORs) and continuous data as mean differences (MDs) or standardised mean differences (SMDs). We used standard methodological procedures as expected by Cochrane. We included 14 parallel-group RCTs and one cross-over RCT with interventions lasting from 8 weeks to 24 months. Of 11 adult studies with 690 participants, six used azithromycin, four roxithromycin, and one erythromycin. Four studies with 190 children used either azithromycin, clarithromycin, erythromycin, or roxithromycin.We included nine adult studies in our comparison between macrolides and placebo and two in our comparison with no intervention. We included one study with children in our comparison between macrolides and placebo and one in our comparison with no intervention.In adults, macrolides reduced exacerbation frequency to a greater extent than placebo (OR 0.34, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.22 to 0.54; 341 participants; three studies; I2= 65%; moderate-quality evidence). This translates to a number needed to treat for an additional beneficial outcome of 4 (95% CI 3 to 8). Data show no differences in exacerbation frequency between use of macrolides (OR 0.31, 95% CI 0.08 to 1.15; 43 participants; one study; moderate-quality evidence) and no intervention. Macrolides were also associated with a significantly better quality of life compared with placebo (MD -8.90, 95% CI -13.13 to -4.67; 68 participants; one study; moderate-quality evidence). We found no evidence of a reduction in hospitalisations (OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.19 to 1.62; 151 participants; two studies; I2= 0%; low-quality evidence), in the number of participants with serious adverse events, including pneumonia, respiratory and non-respiratory infections, haemoptysis, and gastroenteritis (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.20 to 1.23; 326 participants; three studies; I2= 0%; low-quality evidence), or in the number experiencing adverse events (OR 0.83, 95% CI 0.51 to 1.35; 435 participants; five studies; I2= 28%) in adults with macrolides compared with placebo.In children, there were no differences in exacerbation frequency (OR 0.40, 95% CI 0.11 to 1.41; 89 children; one study; low-quality evidence); hospitalisations (OR 0.28, 95% CI 0.07 to 1.11; 89 children; one study; low-quality evidence), serious adverse events, defined within the study as exacerbations of bronchiectasis or investigations related to bronchiectasis (OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.17 to 1.05; 89 children; one study; low-quality evidence), or adverse events (OR 0.78, 95% CI 0.33 to 1.83; 89 children; one study), in those receiving macrolides compared to placebo. The same study reported an increase in macrolide-resistant bacteria (OR 7.13, 95% CI 2.13 to 23.79; 89 children; one study), an increase in resistance to Streptococcus pneumoniae (OR 13.20, 95% CI 1.61 to 108.19; 89 children; one study), and an increase in resistance to Staphylococcus aureus (OR 4.16, 95% CI 1.06 to 16.32; 89 children; one study) with macrolides compared with placebo. Quality of life was not reported in the studies with children. Long-term macrolide therapy may reduce the frequency of exacerbations and improve quality of life, although supporting evidence is derived mainly from studies of azithromycin, rather than other macrolides, and predominantly among adults rather than children. However, macrolides should be used with caution, as limited data indicate an associated increase in microbial resistance. Macrolides are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular death and other serious adverse events in other populations, and available data cannot exclude a similar risk among patients with bronchiectasis.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 162 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 162 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 24 15%
Student > Bachelor 20 12%
Researcher 18 11%
Student > Ph. D. Student 18 11%
Other 12 7%
Other 38 23%
Unknown 32 20%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 57 35%
Nursing and Health Professions 17 10%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 13 8%
Unspecified 7 4%
Social Sciences 6 4%
Other 22 14%
Unknown 40 25%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 70. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 15 January 2020.
All research outputs
of 14,634,925 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 11,033 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 276,547 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 201 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 14,634,925 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 98th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,033 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 22.5. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 93% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 276,547 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 96% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 201 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 87% of its contemporaries.