Delayed antibiotic prescribing

A trial of delayed antibiotic prescribing for respiratory tract infections in primary care has found that no prescription or delayed prescription strategies led to under 40% of patients using antibiotics, and were associated with similar symptomatic outcomes, and less strong beliefs in antibiotics, compared with immediate prescription.

The pragmatic, open, factorial trial, which is the subject of a UKMi commentary, randomised patients who did not need an immediate prescription to one of five delayed/no prescription groups, and also included the non-randomised immediate prescription group for some of the analyses. Unlike previous findings, the delayed prescribing groups did not have poor symptom control.

Little P et al. Delayed antibiotic prescribing strategies for respiratory tract infections in primary care: pragmatic, factorial, randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2014; 348:g1606