Procalcitonin Can Help Guide Antibiotic Therapy When Treating Respiratory Infections

October 16, 2017

BASEL, Switzerland -- October 16, 2017 -- The endogenous infection marker procalcitonin can help to guide the use of antibiotics when treating infections, according to a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

The study showed that the course of antibiotic therapy was shortened, and potential side effects from treatment, as well as mortality, was also decreased.

It is already known that using procalcitonin can reduce antibiotic therapy by around 30%. In various randomised trials, the attending physician was advised whether antibiotics were necessary or whether they could be stopped, based on the procalcitonin value. This strategy using the biomarker was then compared with a control group that decided on antibiotic use based solely on clinical criteria.

A new meta-analysis led by Philipp Schuetz, MD, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland, showed that mortality in patients with respiratory infections decreases when treatment is guided by the infection marker procalcitonin.

After 30 days, there was a 14% reduction in relative mortality (from 10% to 8.6%) and a 25% reduction in antibiotic side effects (from 22.1% to 16.3%).

“These results also give us hope that the global trend of antibiotic resistance formation can be countered,” said Dr. Schuetz.

A total of 26 research groups from 12 countries made the data of 6,708 patients available for analysis -- in keeping with the global trend of data sharing, which allows individual patient groups to be better characterised.

Reference: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(17)30592-3

SOURCE: University of Basel

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