The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Public Health England (PHE) have published new draft antimicrobial prescribing guidance on hospital-acquired and community-acquired pneumonia.
The draft guidance advises that antibiotics should be given to people with community- and hospital-acquired pneumonia within four hours of establishing a diagnosis. Oral antibiotics should be given first-line if the person can take oral medicines, and the severity of their condition does not require intravenous antibiotics.
Choice of antibiotics should be reviewed once results from any microbiological testing are available.
Although it is advised that shorter courses of antibiotics should be prescribed where appropriate to limit the risk of antimicrobial resistance, the guidance notes that pneumonia can be a life-threatening infection and, therefore, an effective treatment course length is important.
This new guidance provides detailed prescribing advice on hospital‑acquired infections that suggest treatment should be reviewed after five days and the antibiotics stopped if the person is clinically stable.
Regarding community‑acquired infections, the new recommendations say that antibiotics should be stopped after five days unless the person is not clinically stable.
The draft guidance documents are open for consultation until 11 March, and the final versions are due to be published in September.
Dr Susan Hopkins, Deputy Director, National infection Service, PHE, said: “Rapid treatment of pneumonia is vital, but these new guidelines seek to refine the length of time that patients are using antibiotics in order to tackle resistance. By supporting clinicians to make treatment decisions based on the risk factors that impact the progression of pneumonia, we can encourage appropriate and targeted use of antibiotics.”