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Review: antibiotics are not effective for upper respiratory tract infection in children

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Question What is the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment for upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) in children?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline (from 1966) and Embase/Excerpta Medica (from 1982) using the terms cough, bronchitis, sputum, and respiratory tract infection; the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register using the terms bronchitis, chest infection, and common cold; Science Citation Index; references of published studies; and by contacting study authors and UK drug companies.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were randomised, placebo controlled trials of children aged 0–12 years who attended a family practice clinic, hospital outpatient department, or community health clinic with onset of URTI (non-specific symptoms of the respiratory tract) in the previous 2 weeks and who had not received antibiotic treatment …

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  • Source of funding: The Royal College of General Practitioners Scientific Foundation Board.

  • For correspondence: Dr T Fahey, Division of Primary Care, University of Bristol, Canynge Hall, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2PR, UK. Fax +44 (0)117 928 7340.

  • * Calculated from data in article.