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Review: antibiotics modestly increase remission rates in acute bacterial conjunctivitis

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 QUESTION: In patients with acute bacterial conjunctivitis, does antibiotic treatment increase clinical remission?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline, Science Citation Index, the Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group Register, and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (to September 1998); scanning bibliographies of relevant studies; and contacting authors and pharmaceutical companies.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were randomised, double blind, controlled trials in which any type of antibiotic treatment (topical, systemic, or a combination) was compared with placebo in patients with acute bacterial conjunctivitis.

Data extraction

Both reviewers independently assessed the quality of studies. 1 reviewer extracted data on participants, disease definition, interventions, and outcomes. Outcomes were clinical remission (defined as clinical cure or clinically significant improvement) and microbiological remission (defined as pathogen eradication …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Dr A Sheikh, Department of Primary Health Care and General Practice, Imperial College School of Medicine, St. Dunstan's Road, London W6 8RP, UK. Fax +44 (0)20 7594 0854.