(UPI) – A blood test may cut back on needless antibiotic prescriptions for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a new study says.
The number of COPD patients who received antibiotics prescriptions fell by 20 percent after taking the finger-prick blood test to measure their C-reactive protein levels, according to research published Thursday in New England Journal of Medicine.
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More than 11 million people in the United States are living with COPD, according to the American Lung Association.
"This is a patient population that is often considered to be at high risk from not receiving antibiotics, but we were able to achieve a reduction in antibiotic use that is about twice the magnitude of that achieved by most other antimicrobial stewardship interventions, and demonstrate that this approach was safe," Nick Francis, a researcher from the Cardiff University School of Medicine and study author, said in a news release.