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Blood test gauges need for antibiotics

Category: General Health

A blood test may be able to assist doctors in verifying which patients are in need of antibiotics and which can be treated though use of alternate remedies, according to new research.

A study published in the September 9 issue of the Journal of American Medical Association found that administering a blood test which measures procalcitonin (PCT), a chemical found in the blood, allowed physicians to more accurately decide on the duration of antibiotic treatment in patients with lower respiratory tract infections, U.S. News' HealthDay reports. Overall, use of the test resulted in a drop in antibiotic use.

The study also revealed that patients who were given the blood test before receiving a prescription were 8.3 percent less likely to experience the adverse side effects commonly associated with the use of antibiotics.

Researchers point out that overuse of antibiotics allows microbes to evolve and resist the medication.

Asked about the development of the PCT test, Dr Ann Falsey, professor of medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center told the news source, "There's been a great deal of antibiotic overuse, with a great number of adverse effects both to patients individually and to the global flora becoming more resistant. This is one tool that can help clinicians make better decisions."

Dr Allan Spreen, panelist at the Health Sciences Institute recommends vitamin C, grapefruit seed extract, olive leaf extract and colloidal silver as natural sources of antibiotics.

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