A ‘wait-and-see’ approach, where a guaifenesin/pseudoephedrine combination product is used as a first-line strategy, may reduce the number of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions for acute upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs). The findings come from a new study published in the journal Current Therapeutic Research.

Previous literature has shown that the ‘wait-and-see’ approach, where antibiotic prescribing is delayed, could be as effective as antibiotics in the treatment of childhood ear infections. For this study, researchers set out to determine whether treatment with a guaifenesin/pseudoephedrine HCl combination product (Mucinex D; Reckitt Benckiser) could reduce antibiotic use for URTIs, compared to placebo.

A total of 1,189 patients with acute URTI symptoms from 45 study sites in the U.S. were enrolled, with a final intent-to-treat population of 1,179. Participants were randomized to either 1200mg guaifenesin/120mg pseudoephedrine hydrochloride extended-release or a matching placebo for seven consecutive days. These patients were considered suitable for a wait-and-see approach. 

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Results found that at day 8 of the study, a significantly lower amount of patients receiving guaifenesin/pseudoephedrine desired antibiotics compared to placebo, 4.2% vs. 8.0%, respectively. URTI symptoms – recorded each day by the patients – were significantly reduced in the guaifenesin/pseudoephedrine group compared to the placebo group, however at Day 4 of the study the proportion of patients who experienced overall relief (primary endpoint) was not statistically different between both groups.

“Addressing patient concerns and recommending symptom-relieving products for URTIs early on can meet patient expectations for rapid relief and diminish [the patient’s] desire for antibiotic prescriptions,” the authors write.

For more information visit Sciencedirect.com.