Antibiotics do little to ease acute cough

London: Prescribing antibiotics for patients with discoloured phlegm caused by acute cough has little or no effect on easing its symptoms or speeding recovery.

Clinicians and patients link yellow and green phlegm with a bacterial infection, thinking it is more likely to benefit from antibiotic treatment, compared to non-productive cough or cough that produces clear phlegm.

However, professor Chris Butler with his team from Cardiff University`s School of Medicine found that patients producing discoloured phlegm are prescribed antibiotics more frequently than those not producing phlegm, according to a Cardiff statement.

His study is based on data from 3,402 adult patients with acute cough for healthcare in 14 primary care networks, the European Respiratory Journal reports.

Butler, who led the study, said: "Antibiotic prescribing in this situation simply unnecessarily exposes people to side effects from antibiotics, undermines future self care, and drives up antibiotic resistance."


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