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Next time you think you need an antibiotic, go back to this paper

I should also add that if your doctor thinks you need an antibiotic for your cough or “bronchitis”, tell her/him/them to go back to this paper just published in the BMJ.

These researchers did a systematic review of the literature and of individual patient data on 55,682 patients to determine “the overall effect of delayed antibiotic prescribing on average symptom severity for patients with respiratory tract infections in the community” including those thought to be at high risk for complications from respiratory infections.

And the conclusion is pretty straight-forward: “Delayed prescribing (of antibiotics) appears to be a safe and effective strategy for most patients, including those in higher risk subgroups.”

Medications – including antibiotics – can be terrific.

But only if used wisely.