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Review: antibiotics have a slight beneficial effect on acute bronchitis

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QUESTION: In patients with acute bronchitis, do antibiotic drugs reduce sputum production, cough, or days off work?

Data sources

English language studies were identified in Medline (1966 to April 1998) using the terms drug therapy, bronchitis, and acute disease; the reference lists of relevant articles were reviewed, and experts in the field were contacted.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were randomised controlled trials that compared antibiotics with placebo in patients who had acute bronchitis, but no history of chronic lung disease or pneumonia; treatment was given for ≥5 …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Dr S Bent, General Internal Medicine Section, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center 111A1, 4150 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA. Fax +1 415 386 4044.

  • A modified version of this abstract appears in Evidence-Based Medicine and ACP Journal Club.