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The problem, the consequences, and rapid testing solutions

Lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) is one of the most common acute reasons for patients to seek urgent medical assessment, accounting for 17 million consultations in the European Union and 11 million in the U.S. each year.1

Despite robust evidence highlighting little or no benefit from antibiotic treatment for most people presenting with respiratory tract infection (RTI) symptoms, these illnesses are still the commonest reason for antibiotic prescribing in primary care.2

The Problem

Statistics indicate that 90% of RTIs are caused by viruses and, in these cases, antibiotics are unlikely to have any clinical benefit for the patient.3 In fact, 80% of LRTIs presenting in primary care are acute bronchitis. Despite evidence of little or no benefit from antibiotics, up to 80% of patients consulting for this condition are prescribed them.1

C-reactive protein (CRP)

The Consequences

There is an obvious over-prescription of antibiotics for RTI in primary care. Antibiotic prescribing puts individuals at risk from side effects, encourages help-seeking behavior for mainly self-limiting illnesses, and puts both individuals and society at risk from increasing antibiotic resistance.2 Most RTIs are harmless, self-limiting and nearly all patients recover without any pharmaceutical intervention. Antibiotic treatment, in some cases, may be directly harmful due to adverse effects.3

Rapid Testing

 Research indicates that countries’ antibiotic-prescribing rates are linked to resistance rates1,2 and, consequently, that the reduction of unnecessary prescribing, particularly for acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs), could directly contribute to lower resistance.4 Interventions such as CRP point-of-care testing can help promote a more prudent use of antibiotics.5,6 Use of point-of-care tests for CRP have been shown to significantly reduce antibiotic prescribing for lower respiratory tract infections without compromising either patients’ recovery or satisfaction with care.7-12 It has also been shown that physicians with access to CRP tests significantly reduced antibiotic prescriptions in patients with rhinosinusitis.13

The Afinion™ CRP test is an important point-of-care assay to help discriminate serious illness such as pneumonia from often self-limiting illness like acute bronchitis and other RTI.14 Afinion™ CRP is a rapid in vitro diagnostic test for quantitative determination of C-reactive protein (CRP) in human blood; helping reduce diagnostic uncertainty and guiding antibiotic decision making during your patient’s visit. The fully automated Afinion™ CRP test provides, with excellent precision and user friendliness, an answer in 3-4 minutes.

Alere Afinion™ CRP test

C-reactive protein (CRP) is one of the cytokine induced acute-phase proteins, the levels of which rise during a response to infectious and non-infectious inflammatory processes.16,17 In healthy persons the serum or plasma CRP levels are below 5 mg/L.17,18 As elevated CRP levels are always associated with pathological changes, the CRP assay provides information for the diagnosis, therapy and monitoring of inflammatory diseases.15-18

*Product not available in US.

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