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Antimicrobial resistance: New guidance on using CRP tests in primary care to reduce antibiotic overprescribing

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The Primary Care Respiratory Society has issued new guidance to help primary care teams implement point of care CRP testing in a bid to cut antibiotic prescribing associated with antimicrobial resistance.

The PCRS cites “high quality evidence” that point of care CRP testing helps to reduce antibiotic prescribing for patients with respiratory tract infections and infectious exacerbations of COPD.

The new guidance builds on evidence from the Netherlands where CRP point of care testing has been introduced for respiratory tract infections and fewer antibiotics are prescribed for respiratory tract infections than any other European country.

The LumiraDx CRP Test, which achieved CE Marking in January is a small, portable test which gets reliable results in just four minutes for timely decision making.

This low-cost assay can be used at the patient side in primary and community care, patient homes, and in hospital emergency care settings.

Professor Jonathan Cooke, Division of Infection, Department of Medicine, Imperial College, London and co-author of Respiratory tract infections in primary care: narrative review of CRP point of care testing and antibacterial use in patients who present with symptoms of RTI. (BMJ 2020) said:

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing concern across the globe, and if left unaddressed will lead to a serious public health crisis.

“While the causes of antimicrobial resistance are complex, growing evidence suggests that improving the clinical diagnosis of respiratory infections in patients is a key component in tackling unnecessary antibiotic prescribing rates.

“Having access to rapid CRP-POCT diagnostic tools has been shown to support healthcare providers when making prescribing decisions and helps improve the management of respiratory infections.”

Advanced Nurse Practitioner and nurse representative on the NICE Indicator Advisory Committee Liz Cross, said:

“As a shop floor nurse, I see first-hand the critical role diagnostics can play in improving patient care.

“With a biomarker like CRP we are able to better determine if a patient will benefit from antibiotics, or if they have a virus that will improve with time.

“This correct diagnosis means a healthier outcome for the patient, less time in the clinic with repeat visits, and is a key component in our fight against AMR.

“Having this diagnosis near the patient with a point of care test, allows these results to be shared in that initial visit and change the course of treatment.”

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  1. Pingback: ePMAs are crucial to tackling overprescribing in the NHS

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