In its draft guidance on antimicrobial prescribing and draft update to the guideline “Diagnosing and managing COPD in over 16s,” National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended that clinicians should consider the risk for antimicrobial resistance prior to prescribing antibiotics for treating or preventing exacerbation of COPD symptoms.
As per recommendations of the draft antimicrobial guidance, antibiotics should be offered to individuals with severe acute exacerbation of COPD symptoms. When considering antibiotics for managing an acute exacerbation that is not severe, other factors such as number and severity of symptoms need to be taken into account. Acute exacerbations of COPD may result from a variety of factors including viral infections and smoking, and not always from bacterial infections which is why many exacerbations will not respond to antibiotics.
Professor Mark Baker, director of the centre for guidelines at NICE said, "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." Echoing the concerns of antimicrobial resistance, Dr Andrew Molyneux, Chair of the COPD update committee said, "The benefits of prophylactic antibiotics need to be balanced against the potential for more antibiotic resistance.”