Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Use of Antibiotics To Treat Upper Respiratory Infections

Millions of people suffer from sinusitis, making it a common ailment of the cold and flu season. The best policy for patients who might have sinusitis and do not have signs of complications or severe infection is to wait for natural recovery, rather than utilize antibiotics finds this study. A secondary analysis of 300 patients who participated in a randomized controlled trial finds that signs and symptoms of sinusitis and abnormal sinus x-rays do not help physicians predict the course of the illness or whether the patient will benefit from antibiotics. Although antibiotics are not generally effective in treating this condition, they are effective in treating a bacterial type of sinusitis that affects a minority of patients.

Another study about the use of antibiotics finds that patients with sore throat, who hope for antibiotics, may in fact be more concerned about receiving pain relief. In this study of 298 sore throat patients, the three most common reasons for consulting their physician were to find out the cause of the symptoms, pain relief and information about the course of the illness. Additionally, a patients’ desire for pain relief was a strong predictor for their hope of receiving an antibiotic. The authors suggest that physicians should address patients’ expectations and needs for managing pain when treating sore throat, rather than prescribing antibiotics.

No comments: