PAUL BÉGIN, M.D.; JAMES HANLEY, Ph.D.
To the editor: In their report on the treatment of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), Wharton and colleagues (1) conclude, "We have shown that trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and pentamidine isethionate are probably of equal effectiveness." Is this conclusion consistent with their own statistical analysis?
Their point estimate of the short-term mortality for patients on trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole therapy was 25% (5 of 20 patients) but only 5% for patients on pentamidine therapy (1 of 20). Using the binomial distribution, they provide a 95% confidence interval of 1% to 39% for this 20% difference in short-term mortality rates. Because the interval
BÉGIN P, HANLEY J. Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole or Pentamidine for Pneumocystis carinii Pneumonia. Ann Intern Med. ;106:474–476. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-106-3-474_3
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1987;106(3):474-476.
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