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Friday 22nd June 2018

NICE publish antibiotic guidelines

30th July 2008

Drug regulatory body the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published clinical guidelines on appropriate prescribing of antibiotics for respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in adults and children.


The guidelines are for patients in primary care and other settings such as emergency departments and walk-in centres.

It covers three areas of no antibiotic prescribing, delayed antibiotic prescribing with a prescription written for use if symptoms get worse, or immediate antibiotic prescribing.

The move comes as evidence indicates that antibiotics have limited effectiveness in treating a large proportion of RTIs in adults and children and complications are likely to be rare if antibiotics are withheld. At present, RTIs account for 60% of all antibiotic prescribing every year in general practice.

NICE deputy chief executive Dr Gillian Leng said: "This is the first practical guideline which will help all healthcare professionals to assess adults and children with RTIs to decide whether their condition will improve by taking antibiotics. The guidance will also ensure that they can be followed up by the right people, at the right time and within the right healthcare setting."

Paul Little, Professor of Primary Care Research and Guideline Development Group Chair, said that management of RTI's in the past concentrated on advising prompt antibiotic treatment but as rates of major complications are much less common in modern developed countries, there now needs to be a strong case of "symptomatic benefit" before prescribing.

At present over five million antibiotics are prescribed for children in the community every year.


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