NICE Clinical Guideline 69. Respiratory Tract Infections - antibiotic prescribing for self-limiting respiratory tract infections in adults and children in primary care. July 2008. RATIONALE: Describes strategies for limiting antibiotic prescribing in self-limiting infections and advises in which circumstances antibiotics should be considered. A no antibiotic or a delayed antibiotic prescribing strategy should be agreed for patients with acute cough/chronic bronchitis. In the 2 RCTs included in the review, the delay was 7-14 days from symptom onset and antibiotic therapy. Patients should be advised that resolution of symptoms can take up to 3 weeks and that antibiotic therapy will make little difference to their symptoms and may result in side effects. Patients should also be advised to seek a clinical review if condition worsens or becomes prolonged. The evidence behind these statements is primarily from the studies referred to below.

Fahey T, Smucny J, Becker L, Glazier R. Antibiotics for acute bronchitis. In: The Cochrane Library, 2006, Issue 4. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/cochrane/clsysrev/articles/CD000245/pdf_fs.html Accessed 23.09.14. RATIONALE: Systematic review of nine studies (4 in primary care). Studies in primary care showed antibiotics reduced symptoms of cough and feeling ill by less than one day in an illness lasting several weeks in total.

Chronic cough due to acute bronchitis. Chest. 2006;129:95S-103S. RATIONALE: Clinical guidelines on managing cough associated with acute bronchitis. Large body of evidence including meta-analyses and systematic reviews does not support routine antibiotic use.

Wark P. Bronchitis (acute). In: Clinical Evidence. London. BMJ Publishing Group. 2008;07:1508-1534 RATIONALE: Discusses the evidence to support self care and limiting antibiotic prescriptions. Systematic review of 13 RCTs found that antibiotics only modestly improved outcomes compared with placebo.

Francis N et al. Effect of using an interactive booklet about childhood respiratory tract infections in primary care consultations on reconsulting and antibiotic prescribing: a cluster randomised controlled trial. BMJ, 2009;339:2885 RATIONALE: Utilising an information booklet during primary care consultations for children with RTIs significantly decreased antibiotic use (absolute risk reduction 21.3% (95%CI, 13.7-28.9 p<0.001). Reconsultation occurred in 12.9% of children in intervention group and 16.2% in control group(absolute risk reduction 3.3%, no statistical difference). There was no detriment noted to patient satisfaction in the intervention group.

Treatment of acute bronchitis available in Clinical Knowledge Summaries website: http://cks.nice.org.uk/chest-infections-adult Accessed 23.09.14

The POCAST project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance at Imperial College London and by the Imperial College Healthcare Charity (Grant Ref No:7006/P36U).