The effect of three amoxycillin treatment regimens on purulent secretions of patients with bronchiectasis has been studied. On the basis of information recorded on a diary card the patients were divided into three groups, according to the usual nature of their secretions: seven who produced mucoid sputum, which occasionally became purulent; seven whose secretions were usually mucopurulent but occasionally purulent; and 19 whose secretions were persistently purulent. Treatment with capsules of amoxycillin in a dosage of 250 mg three times a day resulted in clearance of purulent secretions in patients of the mucoid group when they were treated for a clinical exacerbation. The sputum remained clear in these patients for long periods before a further exacerbation (median 6 1/2, range 1-11 months). The mucopurulent-purulent group also responded to this dosage but sputum purulence returned more rapidly (median 9, range 4-31 days). Only three of the 19 (17%) patients with persistently purulent secretions showed a macroscopic response to this dosage, whereas seven (60%) of 12 patients who received the higher dosage (3 g sachets twice a day) responded. Among the failures, some responded to nebulised amoxycillin, suggesting that higher levels of amoxycillin in secretions are required in these patients. Macroscopic clearance of purulent secretions was finally achieved in most of the patients studied. The response was not always predictable from the results of sputum culture. Clearance of secretions by antibiotics was also identified by the patients, using a diary card score. Improvements in well being and in symptoms were noticed even in the group who usually produced mucopurulent and purulent secretions even though they appeared to be clinically stable before treatment.
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