ACP-ASIM issues four new guidelines

March 19, 2001

Antibiotics not needed for most respiratory infections

PHILADELPHIA -- (March 20, 2001) The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM) today released new guidelines saying that antibiotics are not needed for most respiratory tract infections. For most healthy adults, the best treatment for bronchitis, sinusitis, pharyngitis (sore throat) and non-specific upper respiratory tract infections are over-the-counter cold remedies and salt water gargles to relieve symptoms.

The four guidelines, four background papers on upper respiratory tract infections and an introductory essay are in today's Annals of Internal Medicine, the peer-reviewed journal published by ACP-ASIM.

"ACP-ASIM is concerned about the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant diseases," says Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD, the society's president. "Up to 75 percent of antibiotics prescribed each year are associated with treating upper respiratory tract infections. Unfortunately, most of these prescriptions are unnecessary. As a professional organization representing internists who treat the majority of adult patients, we decided that our best contribution to reducing overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics is to develop guidelines for the management of these common infections."

The College's new guidelines are based on four background papers of principles for appropriate antibiotic use in upper respiratory tract infections developed by a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) panel with representative of ACP-ASIM, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). Some or all of the principles in the papers have been endorsed by the CDC, ACP-ASIM, AAFP and IDSA.

To expedite doctor-patient discussions about appropriate use of antibiotics and the dangers of antibiotic resistance, ACP-ASIM has developed a patient education brochure that is available by calling 1-800-523-1546, ext. 2600. The information is also available on an ACP-ASIM Web site: The guidelines and background papers are available on the College's Web site:

"Patients should not think they are getting poor treatment if their doctors don't prescribe antibiotics," says Vincenza Snow, MD, senior medical associate at ACP-ASIM. "Most colds and other respiratory tract infections are caused by viruses, and antibiotics don't affect viruses. Try nasal sprays, decongestants, cough drops and gargles to relieve symptoms before you call the doctor." Snow notes that ACP-ASIM does not endorse any over-the-counter products or pharmaceuticals. "Finally, don't expect the symptoms to clear up right away," Snow says. "Colds usually last for up to two weeks."

The guidelines are for healthy adults. They are not intended for people over age 65 or with other long-term medical conditions such as diabetes, heart or lung problems, Snow says. ACP-ASIM is a professional organization representing 115,000 internists, doctors for adults, and is the second largest medical organization in the United States. It has been issuing evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for 20 years.

"The CDC is delighted to work with ACP-ASIM, AAFP and IDSA on efforts to reduce overuse of antibiotics," says Richard E. Besser, MD, director of the CDC campaign to promote appropriate antibiotic use for respiratory infections. "A key element in the CDC's strategy to reduce overuse of antibiotics is to have reliable, evidence-based practice principles for physicians. The guidelines for upper respiratory tract infections provide these. We also rely on the experience and knowledge of professional organizations such as ACP-ASIM and AAFP to help get the principles into office practices and doctor-patient discussions."
NOTES to Editors:

Embargoed copies of these papers are available by calling Penelope Fuller at 215-351-2656 or 1-800-523-1546, ext. 2656.

The complete text will be available at on March 20, 2001, or can be obtained by writing ACP-ASIM Customer Service, 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

The ACP-ASIM patient education brochure on antibiotic resistance is available at or can be obtained by calling 1-800-523-1546, ext. 2600. . The following people are available for interview by calling Susan Anderson at 215-351-2653 or 800-523-1546, ext. 2653.

· Sandra A. Fryhofer, ACP-ASIM president (Atlanta)

· Herbert Waxman, MD, ACP-ASIM senior vice president for education (Philadelphia)

· Vincenza Snow, MD, senior medical associate at ACP-ASIM, an author of the guidelines (Philadelphia)

· David Dale, MD, chairman of ACP-ASIM Clinical Efficacy Assessment Committee (Seattle)

· Preston Winters, MD, member ACP-ASIM Clinical Efficacy Assessment Committee (New York City)

The following people are also available for interview:

· Ralph Gonzales, MD, MSPH, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, coordinator of CDC background principles papers (Denver, 303-372-9084)

· Richard E. Besser, MD, medical epidemiologist, director, CDC Campaign to Promote Appropriate Antibiotic Use, Respiratory Diseases Branch, National Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC (Atlanta)

American College of Physicians

Related Antibiotics Articles from Brightsurf:

Insights in the search for new antibiotics
A collaborative research team from the University of Oklahoma, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Merck & Co. published an opinion article in the journal, Nature Chemical Biology, that addresses the gap in the discovery of new antibiotics.

New tricks for old antibiotics
The study published in the journal Immunity reveals that tetracyclines (broad spectre antibiotics), by partially inhibiting cell mitochondria activity, induce a compensatory response on the organism that decreases tissue damage caused during infection.

Benefits, risks seen with antibiotics-first for appendicitis
Antibiotics are a good choice for some patients with appendicitis but not all, according to study results published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

How antibiotics interact
Understanding bottleneck effects in the translation of bacterial proteins can lead to a more effective combination of antibiotics / study in 'Nature Communications'

Are antivitamins the new antibiotics?
Antibiotics are among the most important discoveries of modern medicine and have saved millions of lives since the discovery of penicillin almost 100 years ago.

Hygiene reduces the need for antibiotics by up to 30%
A new paper published in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), finds improved everyday hygiene practices, such as hand-washing, reduces the risk of common infections by up to 50%, reducing the need for antibiotics, by up to 30%.

Antibiotics: City dwellers and children take the most
City dwellers take more antibiotics than people in rural areas; children and the elderly use them more often than middle-aged people; the use of antibiotics decreases as education increases, but only in rich countries: These are three of the more striking trends identified by researchers of the NRW Forschungskolleg ''One Health and Urban Transformation'' at the University of Bonn.

Metals could be the link to new antibiotics
Compounds containing metals could hold the key to the next generation of antibiotics to combat the growing threat of global antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotics from the sea
The team led by Prof. Christian Jogler of Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, has succeeded in cultivating several dozen marine bacteria in the laboratory -- bacteria that had previously been paid little attention.

Antibiotics not necessary for most toothaches, according to new ADA guideline
The American Dental Association (ADA) announced today a new guideline indicating that in most cases, antibiotics are not recommended for toothaches.

Read More: Antibiotics News and Antibiotics Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to