One of the most common reasons for a visit to the GP is acute cough.
A recent Cardiff University study has revealed that antibiotics prescribed for those suffering acute cough with discolored phlegm, did not have much effect in relieving the symptoms.
Usually, a bacterial infection causes the discoloration of phlegm. The research found that patients having acute cough with discolored phlegm are mostly prescribed antibiotics. Further, this practice makes it clear that 'the colour of the phlegm' is one of the overriding factors for clinicians in taking a decision about whether or not to prescribe antibiotics.
Butler, who led the study, said, "One of the exciting things about this research is that our findings from this large, multi-country observational study resonate with findings from randomized trials where benefit from antibiotic treatment in those producing discolored phlegm has been found to be marginal at best or non-existent. Our findings add weight to the message that acute cough in otherwise well adults is a self-limiting condition and antibiotic treatment does not speed recovery to any meaningful extent. In fact, antibiotic prescribing in this situation simply unnecessarily exposes people to side effects from antibiotics, undermines future self care, and drives up antibiotic resistance."