New guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) recommends that health care professionals should take into account the risk for antimicrobial resistance when making a decision to prescribe antibiotics for treatment or prevention of exacerbations of COPD.
NICE recently published the antimicrobial prescribing guidance for COPD in addition to the update to its 2010 guideline on diagnosing and managing COPD in over 16s. The antimicrobial guidance recommends offering antibiotics to individuals with severe acute exacerbation. However, when treating an acute exacerbation, which is not severe, it is important to consider other factors when prescribing antibiotics, such as the frequency and severity of symptoms.
It is important to note that a variety of factors including viral infections and smoking could contribute to acute exacerbations of COPD. Bacterial infections account for only half of the exacerbations, which makes antibiotics appropriate for only limited cases.
Paul Chrisp, director of the centre for guidelines at NICE, said: "These recommendations will help health care professionals to make responsible prescribing decisions, which will not only help people manage their condition but also reduce the risk for antimicrobial resistance.”