With funding from the National Institute for Health Research, the team demonstrated that using a CRP finger-prick blood test resulted in 20% fewer people using antibiotics for COPD flare-ups.
Importantly, this reduction in antibiotic use did not have a negative effect on patients' recovery over the first two weeks after their consultation at their GP surgery, or on their well-being or use of health care services over the following six months.
Use - Antibiotics - Way - Battle - Resistance
Safely reducing the use of antibiotics in this way may help in the battle against antibiotic resistance.
More than a million people in the UK have COPD, which is a lung condition associated with smoking and other environmental pollutants. People living with the condition often experience exacerbations, or flare-ups, and when this happens, three out of four are prescribed antibiotics. However, two -thirds of these flare-ups are not caused by bacterial infections and antibiotics often do not benefit patients.
Professor - Nick - Francis - Cardiff - University
Professor Nick Francis, from Cardiff University's School of Medicine, said: "Governments, commissioners, clinicians, and patients living with COPD around the world are urgently seeking tools to help them know when it is safe to withhold antibiotics and focus on treating flare-ups with other treatments.
"This is a patient population that are often considered to be at high risk from not receiving antibiotics, but we were able to achieve a reduction in antibiotic use that is about twice the magnitude of that achieved by most other antimicrobial stewardship interventions, and demonstrate that this approach was safe."
Test - Amount - C- - Protein - CRP
The finger-prick test measures the amount of C- reactive protein (CRP) -- a marker of inflammation that rises rapidly in the blood in response to serious infections. People with a COPD flare-up who have a low CRP level in the blood appear to receive little benefit from antibiotic treatment.
Professor Chris Butler, from the University of Oxford, said: "This rigorous clinical trial...
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