Unique considerations in the evaluation of antibacterials in clinical trials for pediatric community-acquired pneumonia.

John S. Bradley, George H. McCracken

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


There are few placebo-controlled, randomized, prospective clinical trials of antibiotic therapy for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in children. The reduction in mortality seen in early trials of antibacterials for treatment of bacterial CAP in adults and children was dramatic and led to the adoption of antibacterial therapy as the standard of care for CAP in both adults and children. Because of the efficacy of antibacterials for treatment of CAP in adults and the reluctance of society to place children at risk of adverse outcomes in placebo-controlled clinical trials, pediatric investigations of this type were not performed after 1940. Instead, comparative trials were subsequently conducted and reported. More recently, comparative trials using a noninferiority trial design have been used by regulatory agencies to grant approval of antibiotic therapy for pediatric CAP. We cannot reliably distinguish between pneumonia cases caused by bacterial, viral, or atypical pathogens among the relatively homogeneous population of children with CAP who are enrolled into clinical trials. Patient- or parent-reported outcomes represent an option for appropriate, defined clinical trial outcomes for pediatric CAP, because the disease in children has a relatively short and potentially self-resolving clinical course. Clinical trials that require invasive techniques for diagnosis and placebo-controlled randomized trials are not acceptable for children, who are considered to be a vulnerable population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S241-248
JournalClinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America
Volume47 Suppl 3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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