When doctors and patients are encouraged to discuss the need for prescribing antibiotics for acute respiratory infections fewer are prescribed, a Cochrane review finds.
The review looked at 10 randomized trials that involved more than 1,100 primary care doctors and around 492,000 patients.
The numbers of antibiotic prescriptions for acute respiratory infections within six weeks of consultation were lower in groups that had received training in specific communication skills compared with groups that had not.
Based on the analysis of data from eight of the included trials, 47% of patients in the control groups were given a prescription, compared with 29% in the groups where the GPs or patients had received training or information.
Professor of Clinical Epidemiology Tammy C Hoffmann, from the Centre for Research in Evidence-Based Practice, Bond University, Australia, says, “The evidence from this review shows that fewer antibiotics for acute respiratory infections could be prescribed if more patients and doctors made decisions jointly.
It’s important that health professionals and patients are supported to have quality conversations about the use of antibiotics so that informed decisions can be made,” she said.