New Drug to Treat Pneumonia

Cold and flu season is still several months away but this year doctors will have a newly approved drug to help treat pneumonia, a serious health condition that can develop from a cold or the flu. Older adults are susceptible to developing pneumonia when bacteria settles into the lungs causing infection and inflammation.  According to a recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration news release, Xenleta (lefamulin) was approved earlier this month to treat adults with community-acquired bacterial pneumonia.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 1 million Americans are hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia and 50,000 people will die from the disease each year.   Xenleta, a pleuromutilin antibiotic, has received the designation as an FDA Qualified Infectious Disease Product intended to treat serious or life-threatening infections.  Development of new drugs to treat infection is increasingly important as bacteria become more resistant to current antimicrobial medications. 

All adults are advised to get their flu shot each year and those over 65 should also get the pneumococcal vaccine.   In addition to annual immunizations, practicing good hygiene and washing hands frequently can help prevent the spread of infection.  It’s also important to know the symptoms of pneumonia which can be a serious health risk for older adults.  If severe symptoms like serious congestion or chest pain, difficulty breathing, a fever of 102 or higher and coughing that produces pus are consistent beyond 3 to 5 days, visit your doctor.  Untreated symptoms can cause permanent lung damage and in some cases, death. 

Very young children and elderly adults are at greater risk for complications from pneumonia.  People with a chronic health condition such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes as well as those with a weakened immune system are also at increased risk for developing a life-threatening case of pneumonia.

Learn more about pneumonia symptoms, treatment and prevention by following this link to the Cleveland Clinic website.