This site is intended for health professionals only

Home / News / Restrict antibiotic prescribing for COPD, NICE urges

Restrict antibiotic prescribing for COPD, NICE urges

By Léa Legraien

09 Jul 2018

Antibiotics should be restricted when used for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the National Institute for Health and Care and Excellence (NICE) has urged.

In draft guidance published today (9 July) NICE recommended that healthcare professionals prescribe antibiotics to people with COPD only when suffering from severe acute exacerbation.

However, acute exacerbations are sometimes caused by viral infections or smoking, meaning that they would not be effectively treated by antibiotics, the guidance said.


‘Limited benefits’


NICE director of the centre for guidelines Professor Mark Baker said: ‘The evidence shows that there are limited benefits of using antibiotics for managing acute exacerbations of COPD and that it is important other options are taken into account before antibiotics are prescribed.

‘The new guideline will help healthcare professionals make responsible prescribing decisions to not only help people manage their condition but also reduce the risk of resistant infections.’


Tackling antibiotics resistance


In 2016, NHS England launched a programme to tackle antibiotic over usage to prevent the ‘growing problem of antibiotic resistance, one of the most significant threats to patients’ safety’, it said.

COPD update committee chair Dr Andrew Molyneux said: ‘COPD is a common and life-threatening illness, causing 115,000 admissions to hospital every year.

‘For some people who have frequent exacerbations, prophylactic antibiotics can help to reduce the frequency of exacerbations and admissions to hospital.

‘However, the benefits of prophylactic antibiotics needs to be balanced against the potential for more antibiotic resistance.’

Want news like this straight to your inbox?

Latest News

Pharmacies on track to deliver record 3 million flu vaccines
Community pharmacies in England could be on track to administer a record 3 million flu...
Covid booster pharmacy
More Covid booster jabs could be redirected to pharmacy
Community pharmacies in England could be given additional Covid booster vaccine appointments redirected from general...
GPs to sign up to CPCS by December to access £250m cash injection
General practices in England are being encouraged to sign up to the community pharmacy consultation...