- For acute upper respiratory infection, symptomatic management is the best option. Antibiotics are useful only in patients with bacterial infections.
- The optimal treatment for patients will both thin and loosen mucus in the chest to facilitate airway clearance, relieving the symptoms of chest congestion.1
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- Reducing use of antibiotics when they are not needed is the best way to counter the threat of antibiotic resistance and preserve effective antibiotics for the future2,3
- - In a landmark study conducted in Finland, a 40% reduction in macrolide use was associated with a 48% decrease in prevalence of erythromycin resistance among group A streptococcal isolates over 5 years4
The role of antibiotics in respiratory care
- Acute respiratory infection (ARI) symptoms are one of the most frequent reasons for seeking medical attention in New Zealand3
- 75% of antibiotic prescriptions each year are associated with ARIs4
- -Yet 98% of ARIs, including the common cold, are not complicated by bacterial infections that require antibiotics5
- -There were ¾ of a million prescriptions for amoxicillin-clavulanate in New Zealand in 20053
Satisfying patient expectations
- Every visit to the doctor is an opportunity to reinforce appropriate antibiotic use and provide counselling to satisfy expectations
*Shown with permission from: Solberg LI, Braun BL, Fowles JB, Kind EA, Anderson RS, Healey ML. Care-seeking behavior for upper respiratory infections. J Fam Pract. 2000;49(10):915-920.
†No patients wanted a chest x-ray and only 15 (3%) wanted a sinus x-ray, with no difference by duration of illness at visit.
- Only 43% of these patients actively sought an antibiotic within 3 to 5 days of illness6
References: 1. Rubin BK. Respir Care 2007; 52 (7): 859-865 2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Get smart: know when antibiotics work. http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/community/know-and-do.htm. Accessed February 21, 2011. 3. bpac nz website. Rational use of antibiotics in respiratory tract infections. http://www.bpac.org.nz/resources/campaign/respiratory/respiratory_poem.asp. Accessed March 1, 2011. 4. Seppälä H, Klaukka T, Vuopio-Varkila J, et al. The effect of changes in the consumption of macrolide antibiotics on erythromycin resistance in group A streptococci in Finland. N Engl J Med. 1997;337(7):441-446. 5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Nonspecific upper respiratory tract infection. http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/community/hcp-info-sheets/adult-nurti.htm. Accessed February 21, 2011. 6. Solberg LI, Braun BL, Fowles JB, Kind EA, Anderson RS, Healey ML. Care-seeking behavior for upper respiratory infections. J Fam Pract. 2000;49(10):915-920.