NICE urges curbing the use of antibiotics for sore throats

pharmafile | January 26, 2018 | News story | Medical Communications Antibiotics, NICE, biotech, drugs, pharma, pharmaceutical 

In a study published by the BMJ a few years ago, it was found that antibiotics were prescribed in 60% of cases when a patient visited a doctor regarding a sore throat.

NICE is now acting to try reduce this number by releasing guidance suggesting that the evidence does not point to antibiotics being helpful in clearing up symptoms of a sore throat.

Respiratory tract infections are one of them most common reasons that people visit their GP, with 27% of all appointments regarding this type of ailment.

However, NICE concluded that instead of antibiotics, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen or aspirin, were better able to reduce pain and that symptoms would naturally clear up after a week for most.

Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive at NICE, said: “The evidence shows antibiotics are not an effective treatment for the majority of sore throats. People who need them should be given them, and our advice will support those decisions. But it is clear that routine prescribing in all cases isn’t appropriate.

She continued, “We are living in a world where bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. It is vital these medicines are protected, and only used when they are effective.”

It is estimated that 700,000 people die from antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year and this figure is expected to spiral to 10 million annually by 2050.

Small measures, such as limiting when the medicines are prescribed, are part of a concerted action by healthcare authorities to extend current antibiotics potency for as long as possible. At the end of last year, Public Health England also weighed into the debate with a television advert featuring a catchy jingle.

NICE also offered its perspective on throat lozenges, finding that they only help reduce pain from a sore throat a small amount and may be better off simply using NSAIDS instead.

Ben Hargreaves

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