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Researchers studying 718 patients at primary care and urgent care sites found that antibiotics didn’t provide any benefit for patients with a cough caused by an acute lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI), as published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Evidence shows that antibiotic prescriptions actually were associated with a small increase in the duration of cough when patients receiving antibiotics were compared to those without. Time until resolution was the same whether the patients received an antibiotic or not. Overall, 29% of patients received at least 1 antibiotic, while 7.1% received an antiviral agent. The most common antibiotics prescribed were amoxicillin-clavulanate, azithromycin, doxycycline, and amoxicillin.

Back again: Authors from Georgetown University, the University of Georgia, and the University of Wisconsin note that when patients did receive an antibiotic, they were less likely to schedule a follow-up visit (14.1% vs 8.2%), suggesting that getting an antibiotic may have been a motivator.

Antibiotics Don’t Reduce Cough for UC Patients With LRTI