Rapid tests reduce antibiotic use 20%

Using rapid antigen detection tests (RADTs) in GP consultations can cut antibiotic prescribing for acute pharyngitis by more than 20 per cent, Spanish research has shown.

Antibiotic use can be reduced using rapid antigen detection tests
Antibiotic use can be reduced using rapid antigen detection tests

Josep Maria Cots of the La Marina Primary Care Centre at the University of Barcelona, and colleagues studied the impact of rapid antigen detection tests in 543 patients.

GPs were divided into two groups. One group provided standard care and the other used rapid antigen detection to test whether patients were infected with bacteria against which antibiotic treatment would be effective.

The researchers found that the use of RADT in the consultation was effective in significantly decreasing antibiotic prescription among adults with acute pharyngitis by more than 20%, and in reducing the inappropriateness of prescription by 33%.

However, the researchers acknowledged that GPs involved in the study may have been more likely to follow current guidelines and better clinical practice than would normally be the case.


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