NICE right to advise against antibiotics for most ear infections

Publication date: 22 September 2017

Responding to new draft guidelines from NICE on acute otitis media, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"Ear infections can be horrible – and distressing, particularly for children and parents whose children are in pain - but they usually clear up on their own without antibiotics, so we welcome this draft NICE guidance today.

"GPs are making great strides in reducing prescriptions for antibiotics for many conditions, so it’s important that we get the message out to patients that antibiotics are not always the answer to minor, self-limiting conditions such as ear infections, colds and sore throats.

"Growing resistance to antibiotics is a major global threat – and these important drugs must be used appropriately in order to minimise this, and to ensure that antibiotics continue to work when people really need them, now and in the future.

"If symptoms do persist for more than a few days, we would continue to encourage patients to seek advice from their pharmacist or GP – and this draft guidance retains the option of providing antibiotics as a back-up treatment in these circumstances.

"The College has worked with Public Health England to develop the TARGET antibiotics toolkit to support GPs and other prescribing healthcare professionals to prescribe antibiotics appropriately."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633/7410
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
press@rcgp.org.uk

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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