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Delaying Antibiotics Doesn't Worsen Respiratory Infection Symptoms — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
March 10, 2014

Delaying Antibiotics Doesn't Worsen Respiratory Infection Symptoms

By Kelly Young

Delayed antibiotic prescription is not associated with increased symptom severity in patients with respiratory tract infections, according to a BMJ study.

Clinicians in the U.K. assessed nearly 900 patients aged 3 years and older presenting with respiratory tract infections. A third were deemed to require immediate antibiotics. The remainder were randomized to one of five strategies: They were asked to recontact the clinic for an antibiotic prescription if needed; received a post-dated prescription; were instructed to wait but allowed to collect the prescription from the front desk; received a prescription but were asked to wait to use it; or did not receive a prescription.

The primary outcome — patient-reported symptom severity on days 2 to 4 — did not differ significantly among the groups, including the group prescribed antibiotics immediately. Antibiotic use was also not significantly different across the randomized groups (26%-39%).

Reader Comments (1)

Pedro Vargas Physician, Pediatric Subspecialty

If considered that most respiratory infections in this population are viral in origin, I do not expect another result.

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