Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Objectives: Acute cough/lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) is one of the commonest reasons for consulting and antibiotic prescribing. There are theoretical reasons why treatment with particular antibiotic classes may aid recovery more than others, but empirical, pragmatic evidence is lacking.We investigated whether treatment with a particular antibiotic class (amoxicillin) was more strongly associated with symptom score resolution and time to patients reporting recovery than each of eight other antibiotic classes or no antibiotic treatment for acute cough/LRTI. Methods: Clinicians recorded history, examination findings, symptom severity and antibiotic treatment for 3402 patients in a 13 country prospective observational study of adults presenting in 14 primary care research networks with acute cough/LRTI. 2714 patients completed a symptom score daily for up to 28 days and recorded the day on which they felt recovered. A three-level autoregressive moving average model (1,1) model investigated logged daily symptom scores to analyse symptom resolution. A two-level survival model analysed time to reported recovery. Clinical presentation was controlled for using clinician-recorded symptoms, sputum colour, temperature, age, co-morbidities, smoking status and duration of illness prior to consultation. Results: Compared with amoxicillin, no antibiotic class (and no antibiotic treatment) was associated with clinically relevant improved symptom resolution (all coefficients in the range -0.02 to 0.01 and all P values greater than 0.12). No antibiotic class (and no antibiotic treatment) was associated with faster time to recovery than amoxicillin. Conclusions: Treatment by antibiotic class was not associated with symptom resolution or time to recovery in adults presenting to primary care with acute cough/LRTI. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Publication Date





2472 - 2478