Comparing Azithromycin to Amoxicillin in the Management of Uncomplicated Severe Acute Malnutrition in Burkina Faso: A Pilot Randomized Trial.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.21-1023
Azithromycin is a promising alternative to amoxicillin in the management of uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition (SAM) as it can be administered as a single dose and has efficacy against several pathogens causing infectious disease and mortality in children under 5. In this pilot trial, we aimed to establish the feasibility of a larger randomized controlled trial and provide preliminary evidence comparing the effect of azithromycin to amoxicillin on weight gain in children with uncomplicated SAM. We enrolled children 6-59 months old with uncomplicated SAM at six healthcare centers in Burkina Faso. Participants were randomized to a single dose of azithromycin or a 7-day course of amoxicillin and followed weekly until nutritional recovery and again at 8 weeks. Apart from antibiotics, participants received standard of care, which includes ready-to-use therapeutic food. Primary feasibility outcomes included enrollment potential, refusals, and loss to follow-up. The primary clinical outcome was weight gain (g/kg/day) over 8 weeks. Outcome assessors were masked. Between June and October 2020, 312 children were screened, 301 were enrolled with zero refusals, and 282 (93.6%) completed the 8-week visit. Average weight gain was 2.5 g/kg/day (standard deviation [SD] 2.0) in the azithromycin group and 2.6 (SD 1.7) in the amoxicillin group (mean difference -0.1, 95% CI -0.5 to 0.3, P = 0.63). Fewer adverse events were reported in the azithromycin group (risk ratio 0.50, 95% CI 0.31-0.82, P = 0.006). With strong enrollment and follow-up, a fully powered trial in this setting is feasible.
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