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New tool aims to cut child antibiotic use

Spotting low-risk cases of respiratory tract infection in children could reduce antibiotic use.
children and antibiotics

A new decision-making tool could help doctors reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescribing for children with coughs and respiratory tract infections (RTIs).

Using 8,000 child records, researchers developed seven predictors to help GPs and nurses in primary care to spot low-risk children that are less likely to need the drugs.

RTIs with coughs are the most common reason children are given antibiotics, with the study in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine calculating a third of prescriptions are unnecessary.

‘Excessive antibiotic use has contributed to the development of resistance to these drugs,’ says lead author Professor Alastair Hay from Bristol University.

‘The aim of our study was to develop a simple, usable prediction tool to help GPs and nurses identify children presenting in primary care at the lowest and highest risk of future complications and hospitalisation.’

Low-risk children

The study estimates if antibiotic prescribing

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