A study from Switzerland says that a simple blood test can determine if a patient needs antibiotics. The study analyzed 1,400 patients with lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) who came to emergency rooms requiring antibiotics.
The team randomly assigned these patients to receive antibiotics as per a procalcitonin or PCT test or started treatment based on standard guidelines. The test was provided by BRAHMS Inc., which manufactures it.
Patients in the PCT group had a need for antibiotics for a shorter time as compared to the control group. The former also had less number of adverse events as compared to the latter.
"It certainly holds a lot of promise," said Dr. Donald M. Yealy, co-author of an editorial accompanying the study. "We need a way to make a better determination of need."
The details of the study appear in the September 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.