How is atypical pneumonia treated?

Mycoplasma pneumonia usually goes away on its own after a few weeks or months. If the symptoms are severe enough to require treatment, there are several types of antibiotics available that are effective. Use of antibiotics may shorten the recovery period.

Antibiotics that are used to treat mycoplasma pneumonia, chlamydia pneumonia, and Legionnaires’ disease include:

  • Macrolide antibiotics: Macrolide drugs are the preferred treatment for children and adults. Macrolides include azithromycin (Zithromax®) and clarithromycin (Biaxin®).
  • Fluoroquinolones: These drugs include ciprofloxacin (Cipro®) and levofloxacin (Levaquin®). Fluoroquinolones are not recommended for young children.
  • Tetracyclines: This group includes doxycycline and tetracycline. They are suitable for adults and older children.

Over the past decade, some strains of mycoplasma pneumoniae have become resistant to macrolide antibiotics, possibly due to the widespread use of azithromycin to treat various illnesses.

Hospitalization: People with Legionnaires disease often need to be hospitalized. Patients generally respond to antibiotic treatment within a few days, although complete recovery can take from 2 to 4 months.

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