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Immediate or delayed prescribing of antibiotics reduced duration of symptoms in acute infective conjunctivitis

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Q What is the effectiveness of immediate, delayed, or no prescribing of antibiotics for acute infective conjunctivitis?


Embedded ImageDesign:

factorial 3×2×2 randomised controlled trial.

Embedded ImageAllocation:


Embedded ImageBlinding:


Embedded ImageFollow up period:

2 weeks.

Embedded ImageSetting:

30 general practices in the UK.

Embedded ImagePatients:

307 adults and children ⩾1 year of age (mean age 28 y, 57% women and girls) with acute infective conjunctivitis. Exclusion criteria were systemic unwellness requiring oral antibiotics, recent antibiotic use, chronic infective eye disease, recent eye surgery, or allergy to chloramphenicol.

Embedded ImageIntervention:

immediate prescription of antibiotics (chloramphenicol eye drops every 2 h for 2 d, then 4 times/d) (n = 104), delayed prescription of …

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  • * Information provided by author.

  • For correspondence: Dr H A Everitt, University of Southampton, Southampton UK. hae1{at}

  • Source of funding: no external funding.