HealthDay News — The American College of Physicians and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new guidelines for prescribing antibiotics for acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs) in adults. The guidelines were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

According to the guidelines, doctors should advise patients with the common cold that symptoms can last up to two weeks and they should follow up only if the symptoms worsen or exceed the expected time of recovery. Antibiotics should also not be prescribed for uncomplicated bronchitis unless pneumonia is suspected.

In most cases, antibiotics should be prescribed for a sore throat only if a strep test confirms streptococcal pharyngitis. Uncomplicated sinus infections typically resolve without antibiotics. Antibiotics should be prescribed only if there are persistent symptoms for more than 10 days, or if a patient develops severe symptoms or a high fever, has nasal discharge or facial pain for at least three days in a row, or, after a typical viral illness of five-day duration, symptoms worsen when they initially appeared to be improving.


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“Reducing overuse of antibiotics for ARTIs in adults is a clinical priority and a High Value Care way to improve quality of care, lower health care costs, and slow and/or prevent the continued rise in antibiotic resistance,” Wayne Riley, MD, MPH, president of the American College of Physicians, said in a college news release.

Reference

1. Harris AM, Hicks LA, Qaseem A. Appropriate Antibiotic Use for Acute Respiratory Tract Infection in Adults: Advice for High-Value Care From the American College of Physicians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ann Intern Med. 2016; doi: 10.7326/M15-1840.