Featured Review: Strategies to reduce antibiotic prescribing for acute respiratory infections in primary care

A recent Cochrane Overview of eight Cochrane Reviews has identified effective and safe clinician-focussed interventions to reduce antibiotic prescribing for acute respiratory infections (ARIs) in primary care.

Antibiotic resistance has become a major public health problem, with some infections no longer treatable using currently available drugs. The inappropriate use of antibiotics is associated with the increase of resistance. Most antibiotics are prescribed in primary care, and most commonly for ARIs. However, in most cases ARIs seen in primary care resolve spontaneously, without antibiotic intervention necessary.

Therefore the management of ARIs in primary care is a key target for influencing the antibiotic prescribing behaviour of clinicians. The Cochrane Overview brings together relevant evidence that  point-of-care CRP testing, procalcitonin-guided management and shared decision making probably safely reduce antibiotic prescribing in the management of ARIs compared to usual care.
There were no trials in the included reviews which compared interventions against one another, so we do not know which is most effective at reducing antibiotic prescribing for ARIs in primary care.

For more information on this suite of evidence, please see the full Featured Review story.