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Antibiotic prescribing at NSMC Sue Neal / Steve Newell 16/5/03. Plan for the meetings:. Enough material for 2 meetings Consider some research Look at antibiotic prescribing at NSMC For respiratory illnesses For UTI in children. What are the problems?. Do antibiotics work?

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plan for the meetings
Plan for the meetings:
  • Enough material for 2 meetings
  • Consider some research
  • Look at antibiotic prescribing at NSMC
  • For respiratory illnesses
  • For UTI in children
what are the problems
What are the problems?
  • Do antibiotics work?
    • EBM to support their use?
    • For what conditions?
  • Huge amounts of time used
  • Huge costs involved
  • Prescribing legitimises consultation
  • Help-seeking behaviour reinforced
antibiotic guidelines

Antibiotic Guidelines

An examination of antibiotic prescribing with reference to new guidelines and minor ailments

  • Acute Sinusitis
  • Sore Throat
  • Otitis Media
  • Cough
  • LRTI
  • UTI
  • Antimicrobial Prescribing Guidance for Primary Care
  • SMAC
  • Clinical Evidence
acute sinusitis the evidence base
Acute Sinusitis – the evidence base
  • Antibiotics may be effective in PROVEN acute sinusitis
  • The adult with ‘sinusitis – like symptoms’ in primary care does not need immediate antibiotics
  • Any effects may be minimal/modest
the guidelines say
The guidelines say
  • Many cases are viral
  • Reserve Rx for severe illness/persistant symptoms
  • Penicillin V 500mg QDS 3-7 days or
  • Erythromycin 250 QDS
Primary-care-based randomised placebo-controlled trial of antibiotic treatment in acute maxillary sinusitis.

Lancet. 1997 May 17;349(9063):1476

van Buchem FL, Knottnerus JA, Schrijnemaekers VJ, Peeters MF

BACKGROUND: The value of antibiotics in acute rhinosinusitis is uncertain. Although maxillary sinusitis is commonly diagnosed and treated in general practice, no effectiveness studies have been done on unselected primary-care patients. We used a randomised, placebo-controlled design to test the hypothesis that there would be an improvement associated with amoxicillin treatment for acute maxillary sinusitis patients presenting to general practice.

METHODS: Adult patients with suspected acute maxillary sinusitis were referred by general practitioners for radiographs of the maxillary sinus. Those with radiographic abnormalities (n = 214) were randomly assigned treatment with amoxicillin (750 mg three times daily for 7 days; n = 108) or placebo (n = 106). Clinical course was assessed after 1 week and 2 weeks, and reported relapses and complications were recorded during the following year.

FINDINGS: After 2 weeks, symptoms had improved substantially or disappeared in 83% of patients in the study group and 77% of patients taking placebo. Amoxycillin did not influence the clinical course of maxillary sinusitis nor the frequency of relapses during the 1-year follow-up. Radiographs had no prognostic value, nor were they an effect modifier. Side-effects were recorded in 28% of patients given amoxycillin and in 9% of those taking placebo (p < 0.01). The occurrence of relapses was similar in both groups (21 vs 17%) during the follow-up year.

INTERPRETATION: Antibiotic treatment did not improve the clinical course of acute maxillary sinusitis presenting to general practice. For these patients, an initial radiographic examination is not necessary and initial management can be limited to symptomatic treatment. Whether antibiotics are necessary in more severe cases warrants further study.

practice at nsmc
Practice at NSMC
  • 58 cases of acute sinusitis examined across all clinicians
  • Symptoms
  • Prescribing
  • Other Rx
  • Wide variety in prevalence indicating diagnostic variability
  • Symptoms - 4 = no history

- 12 post URTI

- 22 pain

- 23 tenderness

- congestion / discharge / fever

Duration - 33 had a comment regarding duration

- less than 1 week = 8

- 2 weeks to 1 year

Prescribing - 100% (1 deferred, 1 nasal spray)

- Amoxicillin / Ampicillin / Erythromycin

- Trimethoprim & Doxycycline

For - 3 days

- 5 days

- 7 days ( 35)

- 10 days

- Other regimes

  • What syndrome are we treating?
  • Are the treatments evidence based?
  • Do we need to make any changes to treatments?
other treatments
Other treatments
  • Steaming
  • Nasal sprays
  • Analgesia
  • 5 went onto second ABX courses, X-ray or referral
sore throat the evidence base
Sore throat – the evidence base
  • Most sore throats are viral and self- limiting
  • Strep is isolated in 30% of sore throats BUT
  • Asymptomatic carriage can be as high as 40%
  • Typical features only present in 15% of patients with strep throat
  • Recent studies do not support antibiotics as preventative of non-suppurative complications which are rare anyway
the guidelines say indications to treat
The guidelines say- indications to treat
  • Severely inflamed throat AND marked systemic upset
  • Conformed strep infection
  • Scarlet fever
  • Impaired immunity
  • PH non-suppurative complications
  • Evidence of obstruction with ENT referral
  • Penicillin V 500mg QDS for 7 –10 days
  • Erythromycin if allergic 250 QDS
  • Deferred script to use if no better 3 days
otitis media the evidence base
Otitis Media – the evidence base
  • Approx 80% of acute OM resolves in 3 days without Rx
  • ABX do not influence subsequent OM or deafness at 1 month
  • May reduce no of children still in pain 2-7 days but for each 1 improved 3 will develop ABX related side effects
  • Repeated courses may make recurrent infection more likely
BMJ 1996;312:961-964 (13 April) Education and debate: ABC of Urology: URINARY INCONTINENCE AND URINARY INFECTION

Chris Dawson, Hugh Whitfield

Urinary tract infection: Management in children

Collecting urine specimens to confirm the diagnosis of

urinarytract infection is [..] difficult in children. A

midstream samplecan be collected from older children,

but in younger childrena sterile bag placed over the

genitalia to catch the urine maybe needed. Suprapubic

aspiration of the bladder is seldom required.

..1% of boys aged under 11 years develop a urine

infection, but the incidence is three times as high in girls.

Most such infections occur in the first 12 months of life.

The greatest danger in such children is the development

of upper tract infection and subsequent renal scarring.

Vesicoureteric reflux accompanies urinary tract infection

in children in 20-50% of cases. Although reflux may be the

cause of infection, episodes of infection may lead to

transient reflux. Vesicoureteric reflux alone is not

sufficient to cause renal cortical scarring - infection must

also be present

Treating uncomplicated infections for 3-5 days with

antibioticsusually suffices.

All children with a urinary infection shouldbe


An ultrasound scan or intravenous urogram willshow

abnormalities of the upper tracts.

A voiding cystourethrogramshould be performed to look for bladder outlet obstruction orvesicoureteric reflux.

Sexual abuse as a cause of urinary infectionin children

should not be forgotten.

Repeated infections should be treated accordingly:

Prophylacticantibiotics may be needed if more than

three infections occurduring six months.

Preventive measures [..] include adequatefluid intake

and the avoidance of constipation.

If vesicoureteric reflux is discovered then conservative

managementis appropriate initially. Higher grades of

reflux are unlikelyto settle spontaneously, but lower

grade reflux – i.e. notreaching the renal pelvis – may

settle without intervention.Surgery is likely to be needed

if repeated infections occurwhile the child is taking

prophylactic antibiotics, if antibioticcompliance is low, or

if reflux persists after lengthy surveillance.

BMJ 1999;319:1173-1175 ( 30 October )Clinical review: Clinical evidenceUrinary tract infection in children

James Larcombe, general practitioner. 

Sedgefield, County Durham TS21 3BN

This review of the effects of treatment for urinary tract

infection in children and of preventive interventions is

one ofover 60 chapters in the first issue of Clinical

Evidence, publishedby the BMJ Publishing Group.

Key messages:

Treating symptomatic acute urinary tract infection in children with an antibiotic is accepted clinical practice and trials would be considered unethical

We found little evidence on the effects of delaying treatment while awaiting microscopy or culture results, but retrospective observational studies suggest delayed treatment may be associated with increased rates of renal scarring

One systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) has found that antibiotic treatment for seven days or longer is more effective than shorter courses

We found no convincing evidence of benefit from routine diagnostic imaging of all children with a first urinary tract infection, but subgroups at increased risk of future morbidity may benefit from investigation. Because such children cannot currently be identified clinically, investigating all young children with urinary tract infection may be warranted

Two small RCTs found that prophylactic antibiotics prevented recurrent urinary tract infection in children, particularly during the period of prophylaxis. The long term benefits of prophylaxis have not been adequately evaluated, even for children with vesicoureteric reflux. The optimum duration of treatment is unknown

One systematic review and a subsequent multicentre RCT found no difference between surgery for vesicoureteric reflux and medical management in preventing recurrence or complications from UTI

practice at nsmc1
Practice at NSMC
  • 33 cases of Hx entry UTI over 3 years
  • Age range 1year – 14years
  • Symptoms including abdo pain, dysuria, frequency, vomiting, fever, wetting
  • 15% no symptoms recorded
  • 72% urine dip recorded, 7 did not, 2 noted not possible
  • All those with urine dip reported positive
prescribing for uti nsmc
Prescribing for UTINSMC
  • Of all positive dips all but 2 had ABX immediately
  • 2 positive dips awaited MSU before Rx
  • Where dip not possible 2 awaited MSU before Rx
  • 17 had Trimethoprim, 9 Amox/Amp, 1 Cipro
  • Length of Rx ranged from 3 – 10days (Trimethoprim 10 days, Amp 5 days)
  • 63% had MSU result
  • 21% had MSU mentioned in Hx but not result appeared
  • 39% MSU positive
  • 50% positive MSUs were referred on first infection
  • 2 negative MSUs were referred
  • 4 were referred after subsequent infections
  • 3 investigated in house with USS
  • 1 not referred (seen at hospital)
  • Hx entries, symptom recording
  • Prescribing
  • MSUs
  • FU and referral – esp from hospital
  • In house investigation?
  • Haematuria??
What is the problem?
  • Double blind RCTs suggest antibiotics give only marginal benefit when prescribed for common acute respiratory illnesses
  • Yet antibiotics are still widely prescribed in this situation
  • Is the problem that doctors do not feel that RCTs are applicable to the usual practice setting?
paper for discussion
Paper for discussion:
  • “Open randomised trial of prescribing strategies in managing sore throat” Little et al, BMJ 1997, 314, 722 (8th March)
  • The objective of this study was to assess three prescribing strategies for sore throat – antibiotics, no antibiotics or deferred prescription for antibiotics
description of paper 1
Description of paper - 1
  • Objective – to assess three prescribing strategies for sore throat
  • Open randomised follow-up study – involved discussion with patients
  • Provides another model for clinical management
description of paper 2
Description of paper - 2
  • Setting – 11 practices in South and West Region
  • 716 patients with ST and an abnormal physical sign in the throat – 84% had “tonsillitis” or “pharyngitis”
  • Patients randomised to three groups: antibiotics for 10/7 (246), no prescription (230), prescription to be used if symptoms were not settling after 3/7 (238) – in fact add to 714
results 3
Results - 3
  • 69% of patients in deferred group did not use the prescription
  • Legitimisation of illness for school or work (60%) was an important reason for consultation
  • Patients who were more satisfied with the way the doctor dealt with them got better more quickly
conclusion in paper
Conclusion in paper
  • “Prescribing antibiotics for sore throat only marginally affects the resolution of symptoms but enhances belief in antibiotics and intention to consult in future when compared with the acceptable strategies of no prescription or delayed prescription”.
another paper
Another paper
  • “A RCT of delayed antibiotic prescribing as a strategy for managing uncomplicated respiratory tract infection in primary care”. Dowell et al, BJGP, 2001, 464, 200 (March)
  • Reached similar conclusions.
what this means
What this means
  • Antibiotics are not always needed for sore throat to resolve
  • Strategy of deferred prescription can reduce antibiotic usage
  • Patients can be managed in this way and still remain happy with their care
next steps
Next steps
  • Can this idea be generalised?
  • What about acute cough?
  • What about conjunctivitis?
  • What about otitis media?
  • What about sinusitis?
  • Other conditions?