Avoid prescribing antibiotics for upper respiratory infections.
The majority of acute upper respiratory infections (URIs) are viral in etiology and the use of antibiotic treatment is ineffective, inappropriate and potentially harmful. However, proven infection by Group A Streptococcal disease (Strep throat) and pertussis (whooping cough) should be treated with antibiotic therapy. Symptomatic treatment for URIs should be directed to maximize relief of the most prominent symptom(s). It is important that health care providers have a dialogue with their patients and provide education about the consequences of misusing antibiotics in viral infections, which may lead to increased costs, antimicrobial resistance and adverse effects.
These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America’s (IDSA) Quality Improvement Committee (QIC) directed the development of IDSA’s Choosing Wisely®list of Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question. The Committee identified a preliminary list of inappropriate and overused clinical practices. A list of five items was drafted and then vetted by the QIC and revisions were made according to a workgroup consensus. The finalized list was then submitted for approval to the IDSA Board of Directors.
IDSA’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at www.idsociety.org/Index.aspx.
Chow AW, Benninger MS, Brook I, Brozek JL, Goldstein EJ, Hicks LA, Pankey GA, Seleznick M, Volturo G, Wald ER, File TM Jr. IDSA clinical practice guideline for acute bacterial rhinosinusitis in children and adults. Clin Infect Dis. 2012 Apr;54(8):e72-112.
Zoorod R, Sidani MA, Fremont RD, Kihlberg C. Antibiotic use in acute upper respiratory tract infections. Am Fam Physician. 2012 Nov 1;86(9):817-22.
Adult appropriate antibiotic use summary: physician information sheet (adults) [Internet].Atlanta (GA): The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2012 May 1 [updated 2012 Jun 25; cited 2015 Jan 28]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/campaign-materials/info-sheets/adult-approp-summary.html.