Prophylactic antibiotic therapy in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Tommaso Maraffi, Federico Piffer, Roberto Cosentini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) represents a huge epidemiological burden and is associated with a high incidence of morbidity and mortality. The disease is characterized by chronic inflammation and bacterial colonization. Chronic bacterial colonization leads to chronic inflammation and epithelial damage that in turn may increase bacterial colonization and predispose to acute bacterial infection. Acute exacerbations are a major cause of hospitalization and lead to a deterioration in pulmonary function. Antibiotic treatment of acute bacterial exacerbations is a cornerstone of medical treatment. Conversely, the role of antibiotic prophylaxis in COPD in the stable state is controversial. From a theoretical point of view, antibiotic prophylaxis is intriguing as it could break the vicious circle between chronic bacterial colonization, inflammation and epithelial damage; however, evidence is scarce. This paper reviews the literature and focuses on the most recent data shedding light on this fascinating dilemma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-142
Number of pages8
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Respiratory Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


  • Antibiotic prophylaxis
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic obstructive bronchopulmonary disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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