Children With Pneumonia Do Not Need Injections

Picture: A syringe in a hand

In the future children with
pneumonia might be spared the
pain of the needle; © SXC

The study, a world-first carried out by researchers at The University of Nottingham, also discovered that children given oral treatment suffered less pain, required less oxygen therapy in hospital and were able to go home sooner than those given injections. Two-and-a-half million children are affected by pneumonia each year in Europe. Until now, most children have been admitted to hospital and treated with injected antibiotics. The findings suggest that these injections may be unnecessary and could be replaced with oral doses of the medicine in the majority of cases.

Terence Stephenson, Professor of Child Health of The University of Nottingham’s Medical School said: “This is good news for children who hate injections; good news for parents whose children will spend less time in hospital; good news for paediatricians who hate sticking needles in children and good news for the NHS, as fewer beds will be occupied and the treatment is cheaper.”

The research project involved 243 children, enrolled over a 21-month period at eight UK hospitals. Half were randomly assigned to receive a week of oral antibiotic treatment and half to receive antibiotics intravenously. Follow-up over subsequent weeks showed that both types of treatment are effective in tackling the illness — and the former actually had a number of advantages over the latter. Oral antibiotics are also cheaper than those given via the intravenous route.

The researchers concluded: “We suggest that in countries like the UK, all but the sickest children with community-acquired pneumonia should be treated with oral amoxicillin initially. We expect that the majority of children will still require hospital admission but for a shorter period, to ensure oral medication is tolerated, and temperature and respiratory distress are settling. Most importantly children will be spared the pain and distress that injections cause.”; Source: University of Nottingham