Clinical and haematological predictors of antibiotic prescribing for acute cough in adults in Swiss practices - an observational study.

Streit, Sven; Frey, Peter; Singer, Sarah; Bollag, Ueli; Meli, Damian N (2015). Clinical and haematological predictors of antibiotic prescribing for acute cough in adults in Swiss practices - an observational study. BMC family practice, 16(15), p. 15. BioMed Central 10.1186/s12875-015-0226-9

Streit BMCFamPract 2015.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (626kB) | Preview

BackgroundAcute cough is a common problem in general practice and is often caused by a self-limiting, viral infection. Nonetheless, antibiotics are often prescribed in this situation, which may lead to unnecessary side effects and, even worse, the development of antibiotic resistant microorganisms worldwide. This study assessed the role of point-of-care C-reactive protein (CRP) testing and other predictors of antibiotic prescription in patients who present with acute cough in general practice.MethodsPatient characteristics, symptoms, signs, and laboratory and X-ray findings from 348 patients presenting to 39 general practitioners with acute cough, as well as the GPs themselves, were recorded by fourth-year medical students during their three-week clerkships in general practice. Patient and clinician characteristics of those prescribed and not-prescribed antibiotics were compared using a mixed-effects model.ResultsOf 315 patients included in the study, 22% were prescribed antibiotics. The two groups of patients, those prescribed antibiotics and those treated symptomatically, differed significantly in age, demand for antibiotics, days of cough, rhinitis, lung auscultation, haemoglobin level, white blood cell count, CRP level and the GP¿s license to self-dispense antibiotics. After regression analysis, only the CRP level, the white blood cell count and the duration of the symptoms were statistically significant predictors of antibiotic prescription.ConclusionsThe antibiotic prescription rate of 22% in adult patients with acute cough in the Swiss primary care setting is low compared to other countries. GPs appear to use point-of-care CRP testing in addition to the duration of clinical symptoms to help them decide whether or not to prescribe antibiotics.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of General Internal Medicine (DAIM) > Clinic of General Internal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of General Practice and Primary Care (BIHAM)

UniBE Contributor:

Streit, Sven; Frey, Peter; Singer, Sarah; Bollag, Ueli and Meli, Damian


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




BioMed Central




Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

27 Feb 2015 15:53

Last Modified:

26 Jun 2016 01:59

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback