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Blood test may reduce the need for antibiotics
Updated: 2009-12-11 19:16:21 CST Category: General Health
A non-invasive blood test could help doctors more accurately determine which of their patients need antibiotics to treat a variety of conditions, new research indicates.
During the study, reported in the September issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a team of Swiss researchers gave antibiotics to about 14,000 emergency room patients with lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) based on either a blood test or standard guidelines, HealthDay News reports.
The patients who were prescribed antibiotic based on the blood test, which measured the abundance a chemical called procalcitonin, were on the medication for about three fewer days than the control group.
Researchers say the blood test could dramatically diminish the side effects associated with antibiotic use and slow the spread of bacteria which become resistant to the drugs.
"There has 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," said Dr Ann Falsey, a professor of medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
She added that the blood test could become a tool "that can help clinicians make better decisions."
According to Dr Allan Spreen of the Health Sciences Institute, grapefruit seed extract, olive leaf extract and colloidal silver are natural sources of antibiotics.
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