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Comparison of oral amoxicillin given thrice or twice daily to children between 2 and 59 months old with non-severe pneumonia: a randomized controlled trial.

OBJECTIVES: Oral amoxicillin (50 mg/kg/day) thrice daily is the first-line therapy for non-severe childhood pneumonia. Compliance could be enhanced if two daily doses are employed. We assessed the equivalence of oral amoxicillin (50 mg/kg/day) thrice or twice daily in those patients.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: This randomized (1 : 1), controlled, triple-blinded investigation conducted at one centre in Brazil included children aged 2-59 months with non-severe pneumonia diagnosed by trained paediatricians based on respiratory complaints and radiographic pulmonary infiltrate/consolidation. Participants were randomly assigned to receive one bottle (Amoxicillin 1) at 6 am, 2 pm and 10 pm and the other bottle (Amoxicillin 2) at 8 am and 8 pm: one bottle contained amoxicillin and the other placebo and vice versa. Only the pharmacist knew patients' allocation. Follow-up assessments were done at 2, 5 and 14 days after enrolment. Chest radiographs were read by three independent radiologists. Primary outcome was treatment failure (development of danger signs, persistence of fever, tachypnoea, development of serious adverse reactions, death and withdrawal from the trial) at 48 h. identifier NCT01200706.

RESULTS: Four hundred and twelve and 408 participants received amoxicillin thrice or twice daily, respectively. Treatment failure was detected in 94 (22.8%) and 94 (23.0%) patients in intention-to-treat analysis (risk difference 0.2%; 95% CI: -5.5%-6.0%) and in 80 (20.1%) and 85 (21.3%) patients in per-protocol analysis (risk difference 1.2%; 95% CI: -4.4%-6.8%). Pneumonia was radiologically confirmed by concordant reading in 277 (33.8%) cases, among whom treatment failure was registered in 25/133 (18.8%) and 27/144 (18.8%) participants from the thrice and twice daily doses subgroups, respectively (risk difference -0.05%; 95% CI: -9.3%-9.2%).

CONCLUSIONS: Oral amoxicillin (50 mg/kg/day) twice daily is as efficacious as thrice daily.

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