A recent study (M Le Bourgeois et al. J Pediatr 2016; 175: 47-53) from 15 medical centers in France showed an association between nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and the development of empyema.
Methods: a case-control design with 83 cases of children with empyema and recent acute viral infection (w/in 15 days) and 83 controls who had recent acute viral infection but no emyema. Age range: 3 months-15 years. To ascertain the underlying initial viral etiology, the investigators utilized molecular techniques and identified respiratory viruses in about half of both groups of children.
Key finding: Exposure to NSAIDs was associated with a modest increase in the rate of empyema (aOR 2.79). The risk of empyema associated with NSAIDs was diminished if the child had been prescribed an antibiotic.
My take: This study, by minimizing confounding factors, suggests that the casual use of NSAIDs during acute viral illnesses increases the chance of developing empyema.
Grinnell Glacier, Glacier Nat’l Park