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Pharmacotherapy and the risk for community-acquired pneumonia

Jen-Tzer Gau1*, Utkarsh Acharya2, Salman Khan3, Victor Heh4, Lona Mody5 and Tzu-Cheg Kao6

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Geriatric Medicine/Gerontology, Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-COM), Athens, OH 45701, USA

2 Department of Internal Medicine, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa, FL 33612, USA

3 Department of Internal Medicine, Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine, Akron City Hospital, Akron, OH 44309, USA

4 Office of Research and Grant, OU-COM, Athens, OH 45701, USA

5 Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC), VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System; Division of Geriatrics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48105-2399, USA

6 Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA

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BMC Geriatrics 2010, 10:45  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-10-45

Published: 6 July 2010



Some forms of pharmacotherapy are shown to increase the risk of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). The purpose of this study is to investigate whether pharmacotherapy with proton pump inhibitors (PPI), inhaled corticosteroids, and atypical antipsychotics was associated with the increased risk for CAP in hospitalized older adults with the adjustment of known risk factors (such as smoking status and serum albumin levels).


A retrospective case-control study of adults aged 65 years or older at a rural community hospital during 2004 and 2006 was conducted. Cases (N = 194) were those with radiographic evidence of pneumonia on admission. The controls were patients without the discharge diagnosis of pneumonia or acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (N = 952). Patients with gastric tube feeding, ventilator support, requiring hemodialysis, metastatic diseases or active lung cancers were excluded.


Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that the current use of inhaled corticosteroids (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.89, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.56-5.35) and atypical antipsychotics (AOR = 2.26, 95% CI = 1.23-4.15) was an independent risk factor for CAP after adjusting for confounders, including age, serum albumin levels, sex, smoking status, a history of congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, and COPD, the current use of PPI, β2 agonist and anticholinergic bronchodilators, antibiotic(s), iron supplement, narcotics, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The crude OR and the AOR of PPI use for CAP was 1.41 [95% CI = 1.03 - 1.93] and 1.18 [95% CI = 0.80 - 1.74] after adjusting for the above confounders, respectively. Lower serum albumin levels independently increased the risk of CAP 1.89- fold by decreasing a gram per deciliter (AOR = 2.89, 95% CI = 2.01 - 4.16).


Our study reaffirmed that the use of inhaled corticosteroids and atypical antipsychotics was both associated with an increased risk for CAP in hospitalized older adults of a rural community. No association was found between current PPI use and the risk for CAP in this patient population of our study.