Antibiotics must be prescribed for respiratory tract infections

Washington: According to a recent published paper, the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued advice for prescribing antibiotics for acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs) in adults.

Inappropriate use of antibiotics for ARTIs is an important factor contributing to the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections, which is a public health threat, said ACP president Wayne J. Riley.

Dr. Riley added that reducing overuse of antibiotics for ARTIs in adults is a clinical priority and a High Value Care way to improve quality of care, lower health care costs, and slow and/or prevent the continued rise in antibiotic resistance.

ARTIs, including the common cold, uncomplicated bronchitis, sore throat, and sinus infection, are the most common reason for doctor’s office visits.

According to unpublished CDC data, an estimated 50 percent of antibiotic prescriptions may be unnecessary or inappropriate in the outpatient setting, which equates to over three-billion dollar in excess costs. Antibiotics also are responsible for the largest number of medication-related adverse events and the cause of about one in five visits to emergency departments for adverse drug reactions.

Physicians should not prescribe antibiotics for patients with the common cold. Physicians should advise patients that symptoms can last up to two weeks and to follow up if symptoms worsen or exceed the expected time of recovery.

Physicians should also explain the risks and benefits of symptomatic therapy and that antibiotics are not needed and may have side effects. Symptomatic therapy is recommended for management of common cold symptoms.

The study has been published in Annals of Internal Medicine (ANI)