Table 1.

Controlled Trials Assessing the Efficacy of Antibiotic Treatment for URI

Study (Year)NComparison GroupsOutcomeConclusion
Cronk et al33(1954)2177PCN G and/or symptomatic treatmentRequired return outpatient visit(s) PCN G 26%, symptomatic 20%No difference between groups
Hardy et al34 (1956)217Abx* or placeboRate of all infectious complications abx 15%, placebo 15%No difference between abx and placebo
Townsend35(1960)845Abx or symptomatic treatmentRate of all infectious complications abx 14%, symptomatic 9%No difference between abx and symptomatic
Townsend10(1962)781Abx or symptomatic treatmentRate of complications (eg., AOM) abx 3.5%, symptomatic 2.6%No difference between abx and symptomatic
Lexomboon et al11(1971)261PCN V or tetracycline or placeboNot improved or complicated abx 5%, placebo 5%No difference between abx and placebo
Gordon et al36 (1974)89Abx or placeboImproved symptoms or signs data not provided in publicationAbx do not change short-term course of URI
Stott and West12 (1976)212Doxycycline or placebo (adults only)Runny nose at day 5 doxycycline 14%, placebo 30%Doxycycline beneficial at day 5, not by day 10
Taylor et al37 (1977)197Amoxicillin, co-trimoxazole, or placeboAt day 8, purulent rhinitis: amoxicillin 6%, cotrimoxazole 4%, placebo 15%; at day 8, normal activity: amoxicillin 89%, cotrimoxazole 95%, placebo 97%Marginal benefit from abx
Kaiser et al13 (1996)314Coamoxiclav or placebo (adults, 61 with +nasopharyngeal cultures)At day 5, for patients with +cultures: persistent/worse symptoms coamoxiclav 73%, placebo 96%;Antibiotics may be indicated for a subset of adult patients, with sinusitis
  • Abbreviations: PCN indicates penicillin; abx, antibiotics; AOM, acute otitis media; coamoxiclav, amoxycillin/clavulanate.

  • * Three antibiotic groups: Gantrisin, Aureomycin, or penicillin.

  • Four antibiotic groups: sulfonamides, tetracycline, penicillin, or chloramphenicol.

  • Three antibiotic groups: ampicillin, penicillin, or erythromycin.