Macrolides for long-term management of asthma (meta-analysis): could be beneficial as adjunct asthma therapy

Macrolide antibiotics have anti-inflammatory and immune modulatory effects and have been studied as adjuncts for the management of asthma with contradictory results. This meta-analysis included 12 randomized controlled trials (RCT) of prolonged macrolides (3+ weeks) for asthma treatment.

The effect of macrolides on FEV1 was not significant. However, there were improvements in peak expiratory flow, symptom scores, quality of life, and airway hyper-reactivity.

The study authors concluded that macrolides may be beneficial as adjunct asthma therapy. Future trials, focusing on long-term safety and effectiveness, should use standardized outcomes.


Macrolides for the long-term management of asthma – a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. J. Reiter et al. Allergy, 2013.

Image source: Clarithromycin structure, Wikipedia, public domain.

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