Here’s a novel idea to "treat" viral infections


Cold kits stifle pleas for antibiotics

Minnesota physicians may have found a way to satisfy patients who hate to take no for an answer where antibiotics are concerned, researchers announced Feb. 29 at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Patients with upper respiratory illnesses or acute bronchitis were provided boxes filled with over-the-counter pain relievers, decongestants, cough syrup and lozenges, powdered chicken soup and a teabag when their physicians believed an antibiotic would be of no help.

Researchers who examined whether the kits were effective found that patients who visited clinics where the kits were distributed were significantly less likely to fill a prescription for antibiotics within three days of their visit.

“In addition to the study data, we have had a lot of anecdotal feedback from physicians that it was a great idea to have something to give patients when you know they don’t need antibiotics,” said Pamala Gahr, MPH, a Minnesota Health Dept. epidemiologist and a researcher on the study.

Physicians in six health plans distributed approximately 31,000 kits during the 2000-2001 winter season. The kits were part of the Minnesota Antibiotic Resistance Collaborative’s public education campaign, “Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work,” which was mounted in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This is a nice idea to stem to tide of unnecessary antibiotic use. I think with the rising co-pays (ranging between $15-25 in my area), patients are going to start expecting more from physician visits. This is one way to enhance the value of the visit.

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