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Verbal advice plus an information leaflet reduced antibiotic use in acute bronchitis

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 QUESTION: In patients presenting with acute bronchitis, does verbal advice plus an information leaflet describing the uncertain value of antibiotics reduce antibiotic use more than verbal advice alone?


Randomised (unclear allocation concealment*), blinded (clinicians and data collectors),* controlled trial with 4 weeks of follow up.


3 general practices in Nottingham, UK.


259 patients ≥ 16 years of age who had acute bronchitis (ie, illness for ≤ 21 d; main symptom of cough; ≥ 1 of sputum production, dyspnoea, wheeze, or chest discomfort or pain; and no alternative explanation) and were not receiving medical attention for an underlying disease, such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes. 47 patients were judged to need antibiotics immediately. 212 …

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  • Source of funding: British Lung Foundation.

  • For correspondence: Dr J Macfarlane, Nottingham City Hospital, Nottingham, UK. john.macfarlane{at}

  • A modified version of this abstract also appears in Evidence-Based Nursing.

  • * See glossary.

  • Calculated from data in article.