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Revealed: Most effective interventions for improved antibiotic use


26 February 2016

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A five-year long research programme into childhood respiratory tract infections (RTIs), has uncovered the “most effective interventions to improve antibiotic use”.

These are: to target parents and clinicians during consultations and promote clinician leadership in the intervention design. Moreover, the system should provide automatic prescribing prompts and employ delayed prescribing, they stated.

A five-year long research programme into childhood respiratory tract infections (RTIs), has uncovered the “most effective interventions to improve antibiotic use”.

These are: to target parents and clinicians during consultations and promote clinician leadership in the intervention design. Moreover, the system should provide automatic prescribing prompts and employ delayed prescribing, they stated.

Professor Alastair Hay, from the Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol led the study, alongside Bristol clinical commissioning group.

He said: “Children with RTIs often receive antibiotics despite the fact that antibiotics will not help the majority of children’s infections. Our research has uncovered why clinicians prescribe antibiotics; what parents want from a consultation with their GP and what sorts of interventions would help improve the use of antibiotics in primary care.”

The researchers found that an important driver of antibiotic prescribing is clinical uncertainty – clinicians will adopt a "treat just in case" strategy when they are unsure if a child's condition could get worse (eg, need hospitalisation).

To tackle this, doctors should be given experience/training in recognising severe RTIs and would welcome any evidence that helps them identify children at lowest and highest risk of deterioration.

Moreover, symptoms of respiratory tract infections in children last longer than many parents and clinicians expect (some for more than 21 days), and this information is of great value to parents to help them know what to expect after seeing the doctor or nurse.

Parents would value more advice about symptom relief, the research found.

The researchers are currently writing up the research, and professor Hay said: “With antimicrobial resistance an ever growing problem, we hope our research will go some way to tackle this issue.”

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