Author(s): Burkhardt O, Ewig S, Haagen U, Giersdorf S, Hartmann O,
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Abstract Increasing worldwide development of antimicrobial resistance and the association of resistance development and antibiotic overuse make it necessary to seek strategies for safely reducing antibiotic use and selection pressure. In a first step, in a non-interventional study, the antibiotic prescription rates, initial procalcitonin (PCT) levels and outcome of 702 patients presenting with acute respiratory infection at 45 primary care physicians were observed. The second part was a randomised controlled non-inferiority trial comparing standard care with PCT-guided antimicrobial treatment in 550 patients in the same setting. Antibiotics were recommended at a PCT threshold of 0.25 ng·mL(-1). Clinical overruling was permitted. The primary end-point for non-inferiority was number of days with significant health impairment after 14 days. Antibiotics were prescribed in 30.3\% of enrolled patients in the non-interventional study. In the interventional study, 36.7\% of patients in the control group received antibiotics as compared to 21.5\% in the PCT-guided group (41.6\% reduction). In the modified intention-to-treat analysis, the numbers of days with significant health impairment were similar (mean 9.04 versus 9.00 for PCT-guided and control group, respectively; difference 0.04; 95\% confidence interval -0.73-0.81). This was also true after adjusting for the most important confounders. In the PCT group, advice was overruled in 36 cases. There was no significant difference in primary end-point when comparing the PCT group treated as advised, the overruled PCT group and the control group (9.008 versus 9.250 versus 9.000 days; p = 0.9605). A simple one-point PCT measurement for guiding decisions on antibiotic treatment is non-inferior to standard treatment in terms of safety, and effectively reduced the antibiotic treatment rate by 41.6\%. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00688610 NCT00827060.
This article was published in Eur Respir J
and referenced in Journal of Antimicrobial Agents