A recent article in the Annals of Emergency Medicine concludes that children should not be treated with antibiotics if a rapid antigen detection test for strep comes back negative.
Antibiotics Not Always the Best Course of Action with Sore Throats
The main concern is that antibiotics are being overused and could result in them becoming ineffective. As part of the diagnosing of patients with sore throats, medical professionals use the rapid antigen test to detect if the strep bacteria are present. The rapid antigen detection test is about 95% accurate.
Test Results Determine Course of Action For Sore Throats
If the result is “positive,” antibiotics are part of the treatment plan to prevent more serious complications. If the result is “negative,” the cause of the sore throats is probably viral, not bacterial. The provider is then faced with the dilemma to prescribe antibiotics “just in case.”
The study upon which this article was based viewed cases of over 58,000 patients under age 21. Their conclusion was that if, after visual inspection by the provider and a negative test result, antibiotics should not be used.
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