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Rapid test prevents unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions
When doctors use a rapid test to determine if bacteria cause disease, antibiotics are prescribed much less often. This shows a current evaluation of the AOK Saxony-Anhalt. The test should therefore be used even more frequently.
The use of antibiotics in the treatment of many diseases is clinically necessary, but it is often viewed critically. After all, such drugs often have serious side effects. In addition, there has been a warning for years of increasing antibiotic resistance. A new test can help reduce the number of antibiotics prescribed.
Antibiotics are ineffective in diseases caused by viruses
As the AOK Saxony-Anhalt wrote in a communication, antibiotics are effective in bacterial, but not in diseases caused by viruses. If these drugs are prescribed too frequently or unnecessarily, bacteria can develop resistance - antibiotics are then ineffective. According to estimates, around 700,000 people worldwide are already dying every year from diseases that were previously easy to treat with antibiotics.
A few tropics of blood are enough
The so-called CRP rapid test is intended to support doctors in their therapy decision and to reduce the use of antibiotics. Since March 2018, the AOK has covered the costs of the test for its insured. Since then, the rapid test has been used around 30,000 times by insured persons at the AOK Sachsen-Anhalt. Just a few minutes of blood gives the doctor an indication of whether an infection could be caused by bacteria in a few minutes. Around 15,000 of these were used, especially for the cold wave in the fourth quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019.
Doctors should use the rapid test more often
As a result, the doctors have waived a possible antibiotic prescription in over 40 percent of those tested, i.e. in around 12,000 cases. According to the health insurance company, the numbers illustrate the benefits of the rapid test. "The numbers speak a clear language," says Kay Nitschke, Head of Medical Care at AOK Saxony-Anhalt. “It should therefore be used even more frequently. Because 30,000 rapid tests with over 500,000 antibiotic prescriptions in the same period are still relatively few. ”That is why the AOK appeals to all doctors to use the CRP rapid test even more frequently.
Adhere to medical prescriptions when taking
So far, family and pediatricians have been able to bill the rapid test at the AOK's expense. In order to further reduce the number of prescriptions, the ENT doctors in Saxony-Anhalt have been able to bill the rapid test at AOK costs since January 2019. In view of the results, the health insurance company appeals to make active use of it. If antibiotics are necessary, the AOK advises its insured persons to always adhere to the medical prescription and not to end therapy prematurely because one already feels better.
Faster diagnostics save lives
Another test could also help curb the spread of resistance. As the Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technologies (Leibniz-IPHT) said in a statement last year, a quick test within three and a half hours can provide information about which antibiotic is still effective in a specific case. Faster diagnostics enable personalized therapy and save lives. According to the experts, the targeted, economical and responsible use of (broad-spectrum and reserve) antibiotics is a prerequisite to curb the spread of resistance. (ad)