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Prescription of antibiotics for adults hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia in Korea in 2004: A population-based descriptive study


Min Ja Kim, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University Anam Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, 126-1, Anam-dong 5-ga, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 136-705, Korea. Email:


Background and objective:  Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is generally considered to be a major cause of morbidity and mortality. There is much controversy regarding the optimal choice of antibiotics for patients with CAP. The aim of this study was to identify the antibiotics prescribed for adults hospitalized with CAP in Korea during a calendar year.

Methods:  This population-based, descriptive epidemiological study was performed using data from nationwide health insurance claims from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2004. The study population was adults (≥18 years old), who had been hospitalized with CAP as determined by discharge diagnosis, and who had been treated with antibiotics for ≥3 days. The exclusion criteria were tuberculosis, underlying malignancies and potential nosocomial pneumonia, based on the department providing care, or surgery reports during the admission.

Results:  Of the 5592 adults hospitalized with CAP, data for 3662 (65.5%) patients was eligible for inclusion in the analysis. This included data for 1899 (51.9%) males, and 2045 (55.8%) patients ≥65 years of age. The most frequently prescribed antimicrobial regimen was β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitors and fluoroquinolones in combination (31.0%), followed by β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitors plus macrolides (30.2%), monotherapy (17.0%), β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitors plus aminoglycosides (12.9%), β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitors plus clindamycin (4.9%), and cephalosporins plus fluoroquinolones (2.5%). Monotherapy included, in decreasing order of use, cephalosporins (6.0%), fluoroquinolones (3.5%), β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitors (2.3%) and macrolides (2.2%).

Conclusions:  In this study, patterns of antimicrobial prescription for patients hospitalized with CAP were assessed for the first time in Korea. There was divergence from the 2009 Korean guidelines for the treatment of CAP, reinforcing the need for assessment of physicians' adherence to the guidelines.