Common COVID-19 Antibiotic (Azithromycin) No More Effective Than Placebo in Treatment of Non-Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients, UCSF/Stanford Study Shows

A University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) study has found that the antibiotic azithromycin was no more effective than a placebo in preventing symptoms of COVID-19 among non-hospitalized patients, and may increase their chance of hospitalization, despite widespread prescription of the antibiotic for the disease. "These findings do not support the routine use of azithromycin for outpatient SARS-CoV-2 infection," said lead author Catherine E. Oldenburg (photo), ScD, MPH, an Assistant Professor with the UCSF Proctor Foundation. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19. Azithromycin, a broad-spectrum antibiotic, is widely prescribed as a treatment for COVID-19 in the United States and the rest of the world. "The hypothesis is that it has anti-inflammatory properties that may help prevent progression if treated early in the disease," said Dr. Oldenburg. "We did not find this to be the case." The study, which was conducted in collaboration with Stanford University, was published online on July 16, 2021, in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The open-access article is titled “Effect of Oral Azithromycin vs Placebo on COVID-19 Symptoms in Outpatients with SARS-CoV-2 Infection--A Randomized Clinical Trial.”

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