Pneumonia - Treatment

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What is the treatment for pneumonia?

Antibiotic medications are the treatment of choice for pneumonia caused by bacterial and fungal infections. The exact choice of medications depends on many factors, including

  • the organism responsible for the infection,
  • the likelihood that the organism is resistant to certain antibiotics,
  • the patient's underlying health condition.

About 80% of cases of CAP can be managed at home with the patient taking oral antibiotics. There are numerous treatment regimens available. Initial treatment (before the causative organism has been identified) is called empiric treatment and is based upon the organisms most likely to be responsible. Once the exact organism has been identified and susceptibility testing performed to determine which antibiotics are effective, the treatment regimen can be further individualized. In around 20% of cases, CAP must be managed in the hospital, typically with intravenous antibiotics initially. HAP is managed in the hospital, typically with intravenous antibiotics.

Antibiotics are not effective against viral pneumonia. Depending upon the type of virus that causes pneumonia, antiviral medications can provide benefit when started early in the course of the disease. For example, the medications oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) are used to treat influenza virus infections. Antifungal agents are used to treat most fungal pneumonias.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Kelsey, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: March 05

I was given steroids and penicillin. And while I was in the hospital, they gave me large doses of penicillin through my drip. I'm out of hospital now, so it seems to be working.

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Comment from: Audrey, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 05

I've had pneumonia for the last three years in a row. Usually I'm run down and busy and do not get proper rest, and it hits me fast. I'm extremely tired. This year I used a nebulizer and did at-home breathing treatments, which helped a lot. I also took a high-dosage antibiotic and prednisone. So I was hitting it from all directions. The duration has been less this year, but three weeks later, I'm still coughing a lot. I plan to get the pneumonia shot as soon as I'm well.

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