Background: Antibiotic resistance is a major global public health threat. Most antibiotic prescriptions for human consumption in primary care are for acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs). Australia continues to be a high prescriber of antibiotics, compared with other Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Implementation of evidence-based strategies to reduce antibiotic use in primary care is needed. Delayed prescribing is one evidence-based strategy that is underused. Objective/s: This article describes delayed prescribing, the evidence for its effectiveness, how it works, how it could be implemented in Australia and what individual general practitioners (GPs) can do. Discussion: Delayed prescribing, also called ‘wait-and-see prescribing’, is the process whereby a GP makes an antibiotic prescription available during the consultation, but asks the patient to delay its use to see if symptoms will resolve first. Evidence indicates that delayed prescribing is an effective strategy for reducing antibiotic use but requires implementation. Individual GPs can begin to use this strategy as a method of treating patients with ARTIs.
Australian Family Physician / Vol. 45, No. 9, pp.688-690