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Patient acceptability of delayed antibiotic prescriptions

Latest research from the nursing and medical journals

Latest research from the nursing and medical journals. Compiled by Vari Drennan, professor of healthcare and policy research, St George’s University of London and Kingston University, London.


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Bacteria resistance to antibiotics is increasing. This qualitative study explored patient perceptions of respiratory tract infections (RTIs) and the acceptability of delayed antibiotic prescriptions and self-help treatments. Twenty patients with RTIs were interviewed as part of a randomised control trial of delayed prescribing and self-treatments.

The patients were mostly inaccurate about the natural course of RTIs and had concerns about symptoms that were not clinically serious. Most were aware that antibiotics were of no benefit and did not expect a prescription at every consultation. However they thought that overuse made their bodies, rather than the bacteria, resistant to antibiotics. Delayed prescribing was viewed positively with no preferences as to the way this was operationalised. Some of the patients were confused or sceptical as to the rationale for the delay if the infection was viral.


McDermott L, Leydon GM, Halls A et al (2017) Qualitative interview study of antibiotics and self-management strategies for respiratory infections in primary care. BMJ Open. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-016903.

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