Targeted antibiotic use in primary healthcare
About 80–90% of antibiotics are prescribed in primary healthcare, and up to 80% of these are used to treat acute respiratory tract infections1-3. Most acute respiratory tract infections are caused by viruses, yet, antibiotics are very frequently used to treat these conditions4,5 It is estimated that 50% of all antibiotic prescriptions in primary healthcare are unnecessary2. Excessive and inappropriate use of antibiotics is a main cause of antibiotic resistance, a major global health threat today6,7.
The use of antibiotics in primary healthcare varies considerably between countries, which is unlikely to be caused by differences in frequency of bacterial infections8. A correlation between a high use of antibiotics and higher rate of antibiotic resistance has been observed9,10.Containment of inappropriate and excessive antibiotic use may contribute to slowing down or even reversing the development of antibiotic resistance11,12.
Unnecessary use of antibiotics is also costly: the cost of the antibiotic treatment itself, but in addition the cost of treating unwanted side-effects of antibiotic treatment (e.g. antibiotic associated diarrhea and allergic reactions)13-15.
C-reactive protein (CRP)
Measurement of C-reactive protein (CRP) is helpful in the clinical management of a patient with symptoms of an infection. CRP is present in very low concentrations in the blood of healthy people; 99% have levels of less than 10 mg/l 16. In bacterial infections, CRP concentrations increase markedly16. Elevated concentrations can be detected within 6–12 h after onset of an inflammatory stimulus, reaching maximum within 24–48 h16,17.Concentrations fall rapidly when the patient responds to treatment16. Uncomplicated viral infections mostly induce a very modest CRP elevation or none at all16.
Point-of-care testing for CRP has been found to significantly reduce antibiotic use for respiratory tract infections in primary healthcare18 and in this way it may help to halt the development of antibiotic resistance. From the healthcare perspective, the use of CRP point-of-care test is also cost-effective19-21.
QuikRead go® CRP assists in deciding on the right treatment
The QuikRead go® CRP tests are a simple tool for quantitative measurement of CRP from fingertip blood samples. When the tests are performed near the patient, the result will be available immediately to support the diagnosis and to guide antibiotic use. When combined with a medical examination and careful clinical judgment, QuikRead go CRP assists the healthcare professional in differentiating between bacterial and viral infections and in identifying those patients who need – and particularly those who do not need – antibiotic therapy.
As CRP concentrations fall rapidly in response to effective treatment, QuikRead go CRP tests are also useful for monitoring the effect of antibiotic treatment.
With accurate information, patients can be more easily reassured that symptomatic treatment will be sufficient. The results obtained using the QuikRead go CRP tests are analytically as accurate as the test results obtained by laboratory analysers.17, 22
QuikRead go CRP allows an evidence-based approach to antibiotic use in primary healthcare, increasing both doctor and patient satisfaction.
QuikRead go is not registered in the USA.