(HealthDay News) — The point-of-care C-reactive protein biomarker test of infection can reduce antibiotic use, although it does not affect clinical recovery, according to a review published online November 6 in The Cochrane Library.

Rune Aabenhus, MD, from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues examined the benefits and harms of point-of-care biomarker tests of infection for guiding antibiotic treatment in patients presenting with symptoms of acute respiratory infections. Data were reviewed from six trials (three randomized controlled trials [RCTs] and three cluster-RCTs) involving 3,284 participants that assessed the only point-of-care biomarker of infection, C-reactive protein.

The researchers observed a reduction in the use of antibiotic treatments in the C-reactive protein vs. the standard-of-care group. The pooled risk ratio was 0.78 (95% confidence interval, 0.66–0.92; I², 68%); however, due to a high level of heterogeneity and statistically significant test for subgroup differences between the RCTs and cluster-RCTs, the results of the meta-analysis should be interpreted with caution. There was no difference in clinical recovery for use of the C-reactive protein point-of-care test and standard care. One study showed an increase in hospitalizations in the C-reactive protein group.

“A more precise effect estimate is needed to assess the costs of the intervention and compare the use of a point-of-care biomarker to other antibiotic-saving strategies,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Brahms Diagnostica (now Thermo-Fischer).

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