Objective: To assess whether sharing the uncertainty of the value of antibiotics for acute bronchitis in the form of written and verbal advice affects the likelihood of patients taking antibiotics. Design: Nested, single blind, randomised controlled trial. Setting: Three suburban general practices in Nottingham. Participants: 259 previously well adults presenting with acute bronchitis. Intervention: In group A, 212 patients were judged by their general practitioner not to need antibiotics that day but were given a prescription to use if they got worse and standard verbal reassurance. Half of them (106) were also given an information leaflet. All patients in group B (47) were judged to need antibiotics and were given a prescription and encouraged to use it. Main outcome measures: Antibiotic use in the next two weeks. Reconsultation for the same symptoms in the next month. Results: In group A fewer patients who received the information leaflet took antibiotics compared with those who did not receive the leaflet (49 v 63, risk ratio 0.76, 95% confidence interval 0.59 to 0.97, P = 0.04). Numbers reconsulting were similar (11 v 14). In group B, 44 patients took the antibiotics. Conclusion: Most previously well adults with acute bronchitis were judged not to need antibiotics. Reassuring these patients and sharing the uncertainty about prescribing in a information leaflet supported by verbal advice is a safe strategy and reduces antibiotic use.
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - 12 Jan 2002|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (all)