Acute cough alone should not be a guide symptom for antibiotic prescription

Acute uncomplicated lower-respiratory-tract infection, understood as cough of no more than 28 days’ duration, is the most common acute illness managed in primary care in developed countries. Even in low-antibiotic-prescribing countries, most patients with these symptoms will receive antibiotics. Although consensus opinion has been to restrict antibiotic use in such infections, the debate about the balance of benefit and harm continues. The Lancet Infectious Diseases has published an article led by the GRACE consortium addressing this problem. The work, involving over 2.000 patients in 12 countries, concludes that amoxicillin provides little benefit for acute lower respiratory-tract infection in primary care, when pneumonia is not suspected clinically. One of the authors of the article is Dr. Antoni Torres, full Professor at the University of Barcelona faculty of Medicine and leader of the IDIBAPS team Applied research in infectious respiratory diseases, critically ill patients and lung cancer. He coordinated, together with Dr. Núria Sánchez and the nurse Patricia Fernández, the tasks developed by the professionals at Casanova Primary Care Center (CAP Casanova, Barcelona).

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