NICE issues antibiotic advice for respiratory tract infections

GPs and nurse prescribers should use delayed antibiotic prescribing, or no scrips at all, in patients with respiratory tract infections, says NICE.

Under draft guidance issued last week, NICE calls for these two approaches to be applied to both children and adults presenting with acute otitis media, acute bronchitis, sore throat, acute sinusitis or the common cold.

Healthcare professionals should tell patients how long the infection is likely to last and reassure patients that not using antibiotics will make little difference to clinical symptoms.

For patients offered a delayed prescription, clinicians need to give clear advice about when to use the scrip.

However, antibiotics should be prescribed to patients with any signs of pneumonia and the over-65s with acute cough and diabetes and heart failure.

Around 60 per cent of prescriptions for antibiotics made in general practice are for respiratory tract infections.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

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