BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Evidence supports some beneficial effects of antibiotics prescribed to patients with a sore throat and proven presence of group A streptococci (GAS).
METHOD: A total of 283 patients were included from North and North-West Queensland, Australia, at their first presentation for uncomplicated acute sore throat. Patterns of antibiotic prescribing were explored before and after testing for GAS using a rapid point-of-care polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
RESULTS: The results of the study showed the Australian Therapeutic Guidelines were often not adhered to. The PCR test reduced the proportion of patients prescribed antibiotics from 46% to 40%. The decision to prescribe antibiotics was changed in 30% of patients (P <0.001): before testing only 40% of patients prescribed antibiotics had a positive GAS PCR while this increased to 97% after testing.
DISCUSSION: An easy-to-use point-of-care test to detect GAS allows better targeting of antibiotic prescribing in patients with an uncomplicated acute sore throat.