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Editor's Correspondence
April 13, 2009

Procalcitonin-Guided Antibiotic Use in Primary Care: The Ultimate Proof Still Ahead

Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(7):717-718. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2009.31

Procalcitonin (PCT) levels might be a future help in guiding antibiotic therapy for acute respiratory tract infections in primary care. Briel et al1 have shown that antibiotic prescriptions can be reduced substantially by using procalcitonin levels without harm for the patients. In primary care, however, the effects of antibiotics for acute respiratory tract infections have proven to be minimal. Any test, such as a coin flip or throwing dice, could have given the same results. This was shown already when the C-reactive protein test was used to reduce antibiotic prescriptions for acute sinusitis in primary care.2

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